Are your employees exposed to excessive noise?

What is the problem?

Exposure to excessive noise can cause temporary or permanent hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). 

A person’s individual response to noise can vary and once permanent, the mainstay of management is the use of hearing aids. If you are exposed to noise and you are having problems with your hearing, you should report this to your employer and occupational health representative, or GP if you don’t have access to occupational health.

What legislation applies to noise in the workplace?

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005

What can be done to reduce the effects of noise?

Employers must assess the risk to workers’ health and provide them with information and training if the worker is exposes to noise above a certain level (80decibels). They must provide health surveillance (hearing checks) for workers’ regularly exposed to noise above 85 decibels.

If you are an employer and need a noise survey performed in the workplace to clarify if your workers are at risk, we would be happy to arrange an assessment.

More about health surveillance

Audiometry (hearing checks) measures an employee’s ability to hear a range of sound frequencies. Screening programmes using audiometry can help identify those individuals whose hearing is beginning to be affected by noise so that protective measures can be takenby both the worker and the employer where necessary.

Audiometry should be performed initially when a worker is likely to be at risk of noise exposure to provide a baseline assessment.  Audiometry is then performed annually for 2 years and then 3 yearly thereafter, unless they at high risk or there is evidence of symptoms of noise exposure. The test involves wearing a pair of headphones and responding to sounds played at different frequencies.

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