The Hazards of Occupational Noise Exposure

Occupational noise hazard are frequently ignored by most workers as well as employers because it is invisible. They prioritize visible hazards such like fire, hazardous chemical, compressed gases, falls, slips and electric hazards. They think these hazards could be harmful to workers’ safety and health directly. However, most worker and employers do not realize that occupational noise will do the same. The differences are only on delay and indirect effect.

We understand that long-term exposure of high occupational noise will not hurt worker’s leg like fall accident. But they do not realize that the soft tissue inside the ears will be damaged and occupational noise hazard can cause permanent damaged to worker’s hearing ability.

Of course it takes time to see the effect of high noise level hazard to worker’s hearing ability, since it depends on noise level and exposure time. Each country in the world may have determined its own permissible noise exposure level (dB) and exposure time.

Hearing Loss Symptoms

 Hearing loss is the most severe effect of loud occupational noise, although it is not a painful effect. Generally, there are several symptoms that accompany hearing loss. It could be muted sounding voices, ringing felt inside the ears, which is evident in silent places, and feeling of strain inside the ears.

Inner ears damage may remain even though hearing loss symptoms are weaken. The condition will get worse if exposure to hazardous occupational noise level is continued.

Workers who have already suffered hearing loss will face big problem for their individual and family life. Workers’ life will be saddening, stressful and frustrating.

After knowing the occupational noise hazards, the next step that we should do is to identify dangerous noise level sources in the plant site and take necessary counter measures to control the hazards. Put safety signs that show noise level (dB) of these sources in order to remind the workers.

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