One’s workplace needs to be noise-free and a calmer atmosphere, to enable one to stay focused on one’s job. Loud noises are hazards for one’s workplace - not only for the overall prosperity of the company but for personal health as well. However, we know that noise is inevitable at places like a factory, construction site, or mining sites. The best defence mechanism against noise-induced hearing loss is to avoid and stay away from hazardous noise situations.

The good news is that noise exposures at work are being reduced due to the advanced and improved technological devices. For example, the manufacturing companies are introducing more sound-free machines and singers and music composers are working with more and more improved, stronger and powerful sound systems. However, some newer companies are still exposed to noises. Whether or not you are a user of hearing aids, you need to protect your ears and take care of them, not only at home but also in your workplace.

 

How to Reduce Noise in the Workplace?

The first and foremost thing is to reduce the noise levels at your workplace more than anything else. It is quite natural for professionals to suggest wearing earmuffs or earplugs to lessen the intensity of your exposure to loud noises, but this might often lead to more problems. Because people are often unaware of how to use them properly. It is always better to stay as noise-free as possible. In this way, you can not only stay focused on your work but can also maintain your hearing and overall health.

The Noise Regulations 2005 obliges employers to prevent or reduce exposure to noise at work and provide safety to all employees. Being a responsible employer, it is your duty to maintain a healthy environment for your workers. Here are some tips to reduce noise levels at your organisation -

  • Assess the possible risks of noise exposure which might affect the wellbeing of your employees.

  • Create or build strong walls between the employees and the sources of any noise.

  • Keep all the machinery and devices well-lubricated to avoid any annoying and unexpected noises.

  • If you find a piece of machinery producing loud noises that is beyond your control, then repair or replace it immediately. Not only will it protect the hearing health of your employees, but will also increase productivity. After all, an old and faulty machine is bound to work inefficiently, thereby reducing productivity!

  • You can also consider replacing your old and noisy devices with low-noise ones.

  • The best solution would be to eliminate all possible sources of loud sounds or at least lessening their intensity.

  • Do try to create separate and quiet areas for your employees to be at ease and gain relief from excessive noise.

  • Limit the number of employees near the noise source and at the same time limiting the duration of the exposure.

  • The best way would be to isolate or enclose the sound source.

  • If possible control the noise from a distance.

  • Make sure that the legal limits of noise are not exceeded.

  • Carry out health surveillance and hearing checkups on a regular basis to ensure that your employees are working in safety.

The health and wellbeing of the employees is the most important thing that an organisation should take care of. It determines the prosperity of your company.

 

When Should I Be Concerned?

If you find the following situations at your workplace, then you are exposed to a possible risk of acquiring hearing loss.

  • Is the noise intrusive such as a busy street near your office, a vacuum cleaner running on near you or a crowded restaurant? Are you exposed to these noises for most of your working day?

  • Do you work in a noisy industry, such as a construction site, woodworking industry, engineering, plastics processing and textile manufacturing factory, pressing or stamping, paper or board making or in the canning or bottling plants?

  • Do you feel that you have to raise your voice in order for at least part of the day to carry out a normal conversation even while at an about 2 m distance from the person you are trying to converse with?

  • Do you have to use noisy powered tools or machinery for more than half an hour each day?

  • Are you exposed to noises like hammering or other such noisy and explosive sources such as cartridge-operated tools, guns or detonators?

If you face these conditions almost regularly then it’s high time that you should get your hearing tested and if you are diagnosed with any hearing loss, do consider going for a proper hearing loss treatment to avoid further damage - be it hearing aids or cochlear implantation. Because exposure to loud noises generally causes sensorineural hearing loss which is permanent. You need to take good care of your ears in such a case and wear your hearing aids regularly.