As humans, we have a great ability to hear the world around us. Noise surrounds us in traffic jam honks, construction crew screams, and elevator music. However, those who work in high-decibel environments should stay cautious. Prolonged exposure can cause serious hearing damage and potential hearing loss. We explore why it’s important to minimize loud sounds and how to reduce industrial noise.
Why it’s Important
High Decibels Threaten Worker Health
While cranking up your music in the car may seem fun, this threatens your hearing. Humans should make sure sounds stay at or below 85 dB (roughly the sound of traffic from inside your car and below). For workers in an industrial environment, they’re exposed to 85+ dB, which can cause hearing loss. This is roughly equal to being exposed to a concert or fireworks for a long period of time. Even if you think you can handle that kind of exposure, do your ears a favor—invest in some high-quality earplugs and earphones.
Improves Worker Productivity
Even if volumes are at an appropriate decibel, constant noise interruptions can hinder productivity. Excessive noise can cause major distractions in the workplace. Focus and collaboration are no longer viable if there is constant noise pollution. If distractions are too frequent, work and profits suffer. No business will thrive in that regard, and workers may find themselves unemployed. Whether you work in a factory or office, some headphones will keep distractions and interruptions to a minimum.
How to Reduce Noise
Upgrade Your Work Environment
If you work in a factory or high-noise environment, there are many ways to reduce unnecessary noise. One key way is to isolate vibration. Using resilient materials, pneumatic suspension, and isolating vibrations from service equipment are all ways to do this. Lining systems with acoustic insulation can also reduce noise pollution. For example, water pumps can reach up to 100 dB. An efficient solution to reduce noise when you use a water pump is to utilize a sound-attenuated enclosure. It can reduce decibel ratings to 70 dB, which is perfectly safe for human ears.
Managers and employers should apply these strategies to future job sites. One way they can reduce industrial noise is to simply move noisy tasks. Keep these tasks away from the main work area to ensure most of your workers stay away from it. Employers can also map and measure noise levels. A sound level meter, an integrating sound level meter, or noise dosimeter all measure sound in the workplace. They can help employers determine the best way to fix any noise level issues.