Hearing Protection From Everyday Noises

Aug 24, 2009 by

While most reading this site are already wearing hearing aids, there are measures that you can encourage your family members to take to avoid hearing loss. The first, and probably most important, is to encourage them to wear hearing protection if they are in a job that requires it. Many construction jobs require hearing protection, but not all employers provide the hearing protection devices that they are required to under the Occupational Safety & Health Act, or OSHA. This isn’t optional, if there is a chance that a worker will be exposed to higher decibel levels, the employer must provide hearing protection for them. If they refuse, the employee can report them to OSHA and usually to the local Health board as well.

They also should not refuse to wear hearing protection because it doesn’t look “macho” or for any other reason. Those in trades are often taught hand signals to communicate, and with the noise shouting isn’t usually enough to get a message across in enough time for the required action to be performed. For this reason, the use of hand signals is usually safer in the trades. Here is a chart showing permissible noise exposures under OSHA:

OSHA Permissible Noise Level Chart

TABLE G-16 – PERMISSIBLE NOISE EXPOSURES (1)
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 Duration per day, hours | Sound level dBA slow response
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8………………………………90
6………………………………92
4………………………………95
3………………………………97
2……………………………..100
1 1/2 ………………………..102
1……………………………..105
1/2…………………………..110
1/4  or less…………………115
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 Footnote(1) When the daily noise exposure is composed of two or more periods of noise exposure of different levels, their combined effect should be considered, rather than the individual effect of each. If the sum of the following fractions: C(1)/T(1) + C(2)/T(2) C(n)/T(n) exceeds unity, then, the mixed exposure should be considered to exceed the limit value. Cn indicates the total time of exposure at a specified noise level, and Tn indicates the total time of exposure permitted at that level. Exposure to impulsive or impact noise should not exceed 140 dB peak sound pressure level.

You should also encourage your family members to cover their ears when faced with loud music, jet plane engine sound during travel, and other loud noises. Multiple exposures to these kinds of sounds can cause hearing loss, and as a hearing-deficient member of society, the lesson will be best taught if it comes from you.

Decibels for Everyday Noises

Rock Concerts…………………………..140 Decibels
Firecrackers……………………………..140 Decibels
Gun Fire………………………………….70-110 Decibels
Ambient Noise on a Subway………….90 Decibels

~ Over a minute of exposure causes hearing loss at 110 Decibels.

~ OSHA Mandates Hearing Protection at 85 Decibels.

As with everything, these sounds in moderation are fine. However, if any members of your family work as police officers, are avid hunters, or are otherwise around guns a lot, they should wear hearing protection. Most importantly, encourage them to wear hearing protection if they work under conditions that are above the OSHA mandated level.

Who Should Get a Hearing Test?

Hear Florida Doctors of Audiology recommend scheduling a hearing exam annually if you are 50 years of age or older, or anytime you feel that there is a problem or change in your hearing. Contact Hear Florida at one of our South Florida locations in Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, or Miami.