The sense organs make up the most important parts of the human body, without the likes of which people cannot function effectively and cannot respond to the environmental stimuli that are all around. As such, the ears are organs that are vital for many activities and also help to deduce the surroundings. So, being very delicate, it is of utmost importance for people to cover them with earplugs or muffs in places or working sites prone to loud sounds.
High exposure to noise for long periods can damage the inner membranes of the ear canal, rendering the person deaf either temporarily or, in most cases, permanently. And surprisingly, about 32 per cent of Australian working-class citizens are more likely to be working in an area prone to loud noises. And these noises are way over the safety limits of normal conditions set by the government. Meanwhile, the most common sources of noise are:
- Machinery and working equipment in manufacturing plants, industries and factories or oil rigs.
- Sonic booms during aeroplane takeoffs and jet flights in places like airports and military installations.
- Loud firecrackers during celebrations or ceremonies.
- High traffic in urban cities.
- Blaring speakers for long hours during festivals and concerts.
Sound is perceived as a result of the tiny hair cells in the inner ear getting stimulated due to the vibrations transmitted through the sound. As such, the louder the sound, the more vigorous the stimulation and this is how noise is recognised. However, being very delicate, louder disturbances can damage the eardrum and inner linings, which is how deafness occurs. Unfortunately, the effect is irreversible and afflicted patients may require hearing aids to regain a fraction of their hearing abilities.
Protecting Workers in Areas Prone to Loud Noises
Any level of sound that blocks out normal communication has the potential to be considered noise and impedes the efficiency standards of a workplace. Even a slight disturbance of city traffic can be detrimental to those working in office buildings. So, if a small noise can muddle work, imagine what a long exposure to loudness can cause. As such, take a look at some of the best things to do when it comes to reducing the hazardous impacts of high noise generation:
- Identify the source of the noise and formulate a plan to either block them or keep the workers away from the area. Meanwhile, in most cases, it’s the machines and moving parts that can lead to high levels of noise pollution, and this can be countered by lubricating the parts and blocking off these areas with soundproof walls.
- Don’t allow the workers to carry out their tasks in such areas for long periods, and make sure that they don a protective covering of earmuffs and earplugs before performing their respective duties. They help in significantly reducing the intensity of the generated noise and will not hinder the efficiency of the workers either. Also, educate the workers on fixing their earplugs in place and sealing off their hearing to loud noises.
- Always conduct regular testing every month to keep the noise levels in check and if they manage to rise, have safety measures in place to withstand these levels. And any noise that reads above 105 decibels is a danger to the safety of the workers.
- Ensure that the PPE and sound barriers follow the national standards set by the governing bodies that promote workplace safety. Ensure the strict enforcement of these policies, and no exceptions must be given to anyone.