Noise is any unwanted sound. When a worker is exposed to loud noises and for a long period of time, the nerves in the inner ear can become damaged. This causes permanent and irreversible hearing loss. If you are a long time construction worker, you may notice that you’re not hearing as well as you once did. It isn’t age, but on-the-job noise that is responsible. By retirement, many construction workers have a significant hearing loss.
Hearing loss can decrease one’s quality of life by making it hard to:
• talk with family, friends, and coworkers.
• hear warning signals
• enjoy music, nature, voices, and other good sounds
When hearing is lost because of noise exposure, it does not come back. Hearing aids can make sounds louder, but they don't make the sounds clearer. They may or may not be helpful.
The legal noise limit for construction workers in most states is an 8-hour (full-shift) average noise exposure of 90 decibels. If you must raise your voice to speak to a co-worker who is an arm’s length away, the noise level is beyond 85 decibels and you should be wearing ear protection. Nearly every power tool used on construction sites exceeds the noise level of 85 decibels. At many sites noise levels are above 85 decibels even when no tools are used. By federal law, employers whose workers are exposed to high noise levels must have an active program to protect workers and prevent hearing loss. An employer may be able to reduce noise exposure by using quieter equipment, blocking noise with shields, or moving noisy equipment away from workers. Most construction laborers can protect their own hearing by wearing ear protection with an NRR (noise reduction rating) of 24 decibels. For most construction workers, an NRR higher than 24 decibels will block too much sound and may interfere with communication and safety. However, laborers with very high noise exposures, such as workers using jackhammers or chippers, need an NRR between 24 and 33 decibels.
Injured In A Kansas City Area Construction Accident?
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