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Noise is harmful mainly in two ways:

Hearing loss

The most common and straightforward cause of long-term noise exposure is hearing loss.  Loud noise is especially harmful to the inner ear (cochlea). If the damage to the hair cells is beyond repair by the body, the hearing loss can be non-reversible. 

 

works in noisy construction site

Increases the risk of developing the cardiovascular illness

Studies have shown that chronic exposure to environmental noise increases the risk of heat-related illness. Based on this article on Noise Health, people living near the Frankfurt Airport have as much as a 7% higher risk of stroke than those living in similar but quieter neighborhoods.

Solutions:

1. Schedule Work to Control Workers’ Exposure to Noise

NIOSH recommends that workers should not be exposed to noise at a level that amounts to more than 85 decibels (dBA) for 8 hours. A well-organized schedule for workers can reduce the noise exposure fundamentally. 

2. Implement a Lesser Noisy Working Process

Based on Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North America’s suggestion, engineering controls should be considered the preferred method for reducing noise levels on worksites. For example, avoid metal-on-metal contact, and use damping materials or mufflers. 

3. Offer Personal Hearing Protection for Workers

The easiest way is to provide workers with personal hearing protection such as an ear muff, ear plug, or canal cap. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s Sound Level Meter app is an option. However, suppose you prefer a more precise sound level meter. In that case, Scarlet provides both Class 1 and Class 2 sound level meters with three A, C, Z frequency weighting. 

4. Use a Noise Dosimeter for Noise Exposure Management

When loud noise is inevitable in specific workplaces like construction sites, it becomes necessary to monitor noise exposure. The negative influence of loud noise has raised the awareness of the government of Saudi Arabia. In 2021, The Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture began the implementation of regulations to check noise pollution in the Kingdom. 

A noise dosimeter like ST-130 can measure a specific person/employee’s direct noise exposure. With small, lightweight, cable-free designs, ST-130 can be worn on the shoulder for maximum convenience.

Reference: 

  1. How Does Loud Noise Cause Hearing Loss? | NCEH | CDC
  2. The Effect of Aircraft, Road, and Railway Traffic Noise on Stroke – Results of a Case–Control Study Based on Secondary Data – PMC (nih.gov)
  3. Best Practice Guide to Noise Control 8-10.doc (lhsfna.org)
  4. Saudi Arabia cracks down on noise pollution | Arab News