Noise is among the most widespread pollutants that can result in serious health issues upon prolonged exposure. Individuals employed in heavy industries experience the unbearable noise created during the working of large manufacturing facilities. The staff members working in such demanding environments often run the risk of noise-induced hearing loss. The impact of spending long hours in a noisy environment can be either immediate or observed after an extensive-time period. If the work environment is excessively noisy, it also affects the productivity of the workforce as the workers are not able to communicate with one another. Studies suggest that a large section of the population is affected with measurable hearing loss, which does not get the necessary medical attention. Hearing loss in most individuals remains unknown, but with time it takes a toll on how the person communicates with others.
Impact of loud noise on human health
Loud noises are known to cause hearing damage by puncturing the eardrum; extremely loud sounds can result in permanent hearing damage. Loud sound damages microscopic hair cells present in the inner section of the ear; these cells help in relaying nerve impulses to the brain when the membrane vibrates due to sound. If the membrane is subjected to very loud and repetitive noise the hair cells get crushed and are not able to transmit the impulses to the brain. If a person is affected with hearing impairment it cannot be reversed, however, precautionary measures can help prevent it. Heavy industries must conduct necessary testing to determine hazardous noise levels and take proper measures to eliminate the risk of noise-induced hearing loss.
Workers are bared to different levels of noise depending on the type of work and industry. Extremely high noise levels pose a risk to human health, depending on their surroundings. Noise monitoring plays a vital role in determining suitable noise levels based on their surroundings.
Importance of noise monitoring
Noise monitoring is the most effective tool for recognizing appropriate ways of dealing with noise-related hazards at the workplace. Professional use noise mapping for plotting on the site plan, which is used for the development of hearing protection zones. It helps in reducing the risks of noise-induced hearing loss with the integration of suitable preventive measures. A method like dosimetry also proves to be effective for monitoring noise levels, it also helps in understanding the worker’s exposure to noise in every shift for a detailed analysis of the different levels of noise on a regular workday. After estimating the noise level, effectual management plans are applied to mitigate the risks associated with high noise levels.
How workers are affected by the high noise level
The first step of the process is keeping noise within permissible limits is to determine and monitor the noise levels with the help of knowledge management programs. A typical noise monitoring program includes the following
- Training and educating the staff members about potential noise hazards and hearing protection equipment
- Different procedures for understanding noise exposure
- Warning signs in places marked during noise mapping
- Methodologies of noise control and monitoring
- Use and maintenance of hearing protection gears
- Significance of audiometric testing
- A comprehensive evaluation of procedures and policies to ensure that the noise management plan is effective
Necessities for audiometric testing
If a workplace is detected with high noise levels, the owner/employer must take necessary preventive measures and organize for audiometric testing of the staff members. The purpose of an audiometric test is to identify the hearing threshold value of the patient across a range of frequencies. The threshold values are noted and compared with standard values to detect deficiencies or hearing impairment. Typically if a person is experiencing the onset of noise-induced hearing impairment, hearing loss is detected at high frequencies. If the condition persists hearing loss will also be found in lower frequencies. Audiometric testing helps in recognizing symptoms of NIHI at an early stage so that the hearing the abilities of the individual can be preserved.
According to the health and safety measures of the government, if the staff members are exposed to elevated noise levels for a long period, then the employer must provide audiometric testing within the first few months of their employment. Employees must be tested at regular intervals to prevent permanent hearing loss. Periodic testing ensures that any changes in the hearing pattern of an individual can be detected early so that they can be provided with the necessary medical attention to prevent permanent hearing impairment. Organizations are becoming more and more dependent upon Professional noise monitoring services that offer all types of testing facilities and preventive measures to keep the noise levels within permissible limits.