Noise exposure - prevent hearing loss!

Both the noise level and the duration of the noise determine whether hearing damage occurs.

Measurement of noise

The noise level is measured in decibels (dB). The human ear does not have the same sensitivity to deep tones as to high tones. We have to compensate for this when measuring the noise. This is done by means of a so-called A-filter (A). This is why the unit of measurement is also known as dB(A).

Measuring noise accurately requires professional equipment. But you can download free noise measurement apps for your mobile phone. The apps do not measure dB accurately, but they can still give you a pointer to what is causing noise, and the noisiest locations.

In case of exposure exceeding 85 dB, always wear ear-muffs or earplugs. If you, as an employee, are exposed to noise above 80 dB, the company must cover the cost of the required hearing protection (for comparison: the noise level in an office is between 65-70 dB).

Here you can see examples of the dB value for regular noise in everyday situations and for industrial noise:

How are you affected by noise?

A hearing protection device should not reduce the noise as much as possible, but sufficiently. A noise level of 70-75 dB allows you as the wearer to communicate with people around you and also hear warning signals, for example.

An increase in the volume by 3 dB corresponds to doubling the sound pressure. This means that with an increase of 3 dB, the same load on the ear is achieved in half the time:

  • 85 dB(A) for 8 hours
  • 88 dB(A) for 4 hours 
  • 91 dB(A) for 2 hours
  • 94 dB(A) for 1 hour
  • 97 dB(A) for 30 minutes
  • 100 dB(A) for 15 minutes