Health Effects of Noise
Exposure to noise acts as a stressor, activating physiological factors that, over time, can produce a range of adverse health effects.
Although all of the effects and mechanisms are not yet clearly understood, it has been demonstrated that noise can produce both acute and chronic health effects such as:
- Elevated Blood Pressure
- Digestive Disorders
- Increased Susceptibility to Colds and other Minor Infections
One of the main problems is that noise can be an insidious cause of harm. Excessive noise levels over a long period of time will damage hearing so gradually and painlessly that a person may not notice the minor deterioration from one day to the next.
The degree of loss depends on the loudness of the noise and the level of exposure. Some people exposed to excessive noise develop tinnitus, which is described as a constant ringing sound. For most cases of noise‐induced hearing loss, there is no cure. Hearing aids only amplify sounds, and can’t replace normal hearing capability.
Sound pressure is measured in decibels (dB). Like a temperature scale, the decibel scale goes below zero. The average person can hear sounds down to about 0 dB, the level of rustling leaves. Some people with very good hearing can hear sounds down to -15 dB. If a sound reaches 85 dB or stronger, it can cause permanent damage to your hearing.
The amount of time you listen to a sound affects how much damage it will cause. The quieter the sound, the longer you can listen to it safely. If the sound is very quiet, it will not cause damage even if you listen to it for a very long time; however, exposure to some common sounds can cause permanent damage.
With extended exposure, noises that reach a decibel level of 85 can cause permanent damage to the hair cells in the inner ear, leading to hearing loss. Many common sounds may be louder than you think…
Recognize the health effects of noise problem may exist, evaluate the extent of the potential problem, and control it with the following methods.
Personnel Protection Equipment.
5 Best Commonly Hearing Protection Devices Used.
Hearing protection devices provide you with the best line of defense when you cannot be able to eliminate or reduce your overall exposure to extremely loud noise sources. The best method on how to achieve hearing protection is by having devices that is able to greatly reduce the total decibel level reaching your ear when working in a noisy environment. The hearing protection device (HPD), in this case,works as a barrier for any sound entering your ears.
As such, the best hearing protection devices play a very important role. They reduce the risk of losing your hearing by eliminating your exposure to loud noises. HPD come in three main forms:
Earplugs: which get inserted into the ear canal. An earplug can be preformed (premolded) or can be a foam earplug (moldable). Custom, reusable, or disposable molded earplugs are also available in the market.
Earmuffs: comprise of soft ear cushions and sound attenuating material that has been designed around your hard outer caps and the ear. These are often held together by a headband.
Semi insert ear plugs: they comprise of two ear plugs that are then held over your ear canal by a very rigid headband so as to make sure that they will not fall off.
Selecting Your Preferred Hearing Protection Devices
The Occupational Safety and health Authority recommends that hearing protectors be worn if the sound or noise levels at your workplace are more than 85 dBA. The hearing protection devices will reduce the total amount of noise that you will be exposed to. In a work situation where hearing protection is necessary, then it will be important that a hearing conservation program be implemented.
Hearing conservation programs comprise of program evaluation, noise assessment, record keeping, hearing protector selection, inspection, employee training and education, as well as audiometric testing and corresponding maintenance. Hearing protection devices efficiency will be greatly reduced if your hearing protector does not correctly fit your ears. Additionally, wearing them periodically will also eliminate their efficiency.
You should not modify the hearing protection device in any way if you want them to remain effective. Also, keep in mind that music earphones cannot be used as substitutes for the hearing protection devices. As such, do not wear the radio earphones when you should be wearing a hearing protection device.
5 best factors for choosing a hearing protection devices .
- Ideal for your job
- Capable of providing you with adequate audibility and communication needs
- In a position to adequately protect you
- Appropriate for the humidity and temperature prevalent at your workplace
- Compatible with other communication devices or personal protective equipment
Credible hearing protection reviews sites such as Amazon are good places to start your search for the most comfortable hearing protection device.
Hearing Protection Comparison
Earplugs are easy to carry around, and can easily be used with other personal protective gear. You can also use the plugs together with your muffs. Many workers consider the plugs to be the most comfortable for use when working long shifts, or when the environment at work is very humid. They are also convenient for use in spaces that are confined. Their downside is that they require a lot of time for them to be properly fitted. They are also very easy to misplace if one is not careful.
The best hearing protection earmuffs are designed in such a way that a single size can fit all types of heads. Compared to the earplugs, this is not easy to misplace, and they can be worn without exposing one to the risk of numerous ear infections. Additionally, earmuffs can be seen from a distance, enabling supervisors to determine who is, and who is not making correct use of their ear muffs. Their downside is that they tend to be heavier, and therefore less portable. Earmuffs are also very uncomfortable for use in environments that are humid, or very hot.
The following are some of the best hearing protection devices available in the market.
3M(TM) Peltor (TM) Sound Trap(TM) Slimline Earmuff MT15H67FB, Tactical Electronic Headset Headband
Optics planet gave the 3M Peltor Sound-Trap Slim Line Electronic Earmuff Tactical Headset Headband the 2013 Brilliance Award as the leading consumer choice. Customers who reviewed this particular product termed it as one of the best electronics hearing protection because of its foldable ear cups, great noise reduction capabilities, as well as its compact style. Its slim line ear cups make them ideal for use in a gun range, as they also come with inbuilt electronics, making it possible to adjust the volume levels. The levels can be used in amplifying low sounds, and in eliminating unwanted outside noise.
Very comfortable to wear
Fold up to a compact earmuff for easy storage
Lower price cost compared to the level of hearing protection they offer.
Not water proof
Battery access is behind the form
According to information provided by Uline sellers, the Howard Leight Max Earplugs are the best disposable earplugs in the world. They are made from contoured, tapered polyurethane foam designed to fit snugly in the ears.
The earplugs are versatile and can be used in a variety of areas such as recreational purposes, home projects, and even in industrial environments. These ear plus are the highest noise reduction rating of any single use and they have received a 33 NPR rating and come both in corded and uncorded forms.
This particular line of earmuffs come highly rated thanks to its combination of low profile ear cup, and great circuitry, which makes them ideal for action shooters. It is a line of hearing protection device that makes use of advanced technology when blocking out unwanted noise and amplifying certain sounds.
It comes with two microphones that can amplify any sound that is below 85 decibels. This includes environmental sounds, normal communication, and range sounds.
Good sound amplifying factor
Muff very compact
Takes two AAA size batteries in comparison to others that take 4.
The price is wallet friendly.
This is a professional noise cancellation hearing protection device with a noise reduction rating of noise above 31db. They are 4.7 out of 5 star rating. It comes with a double shell seal design that is ideal for reducing noise, as well as providing you with a quiet environment when working.
It has been made from specialty soft synthetic materials that make it comfortable and giving a soft good seal. They are also foldable for easy use and carry around the workplace. Its special ergonomic design will provide you with protection against noise, and all kinds of electrical hazards.
They are light
Comfortable even when used by kids
Very quiet when in use.
Ohrapax soft earplugs are made from super soft foam. They come in a tapered bullet shape and in 10 pieces. Their design makes them easy to roll and use, and they can comfortably fit in your ear. The pairs of these earplugs in that box are all the same and are well known to block sound completely
It is important to note that the efficiency of a hearing protection devices is greatly reduced when a hearing device does not fit as it should. Make sure that you do not modify the device in any way, as this would affect its ability to protect you. Additionally, make sure that you wear the right hearing protection devices depending on where you work.