Sound waves are made up from the vibration of thousands of air molecules. In low frequency sounds, these waves are quite far apart, whereas high frequency sounds have waves that are bunched together far more tightly. Sound waves are funnelled through the outer ear into the middle ear where they vibrate the eardrum. In there, three miniscule bones pick up the vibration and pass it to the inner ear where a small spiral shaped organ called the Cochlea is found. The cochlea is covered in tiny hairs that sense the vibration and pass the message to the brain through the cochlear nerve. If these hairs become damaged; bent or broken by excessive noise, the resultant scar tissue cannot conduct the sound to the brain, and the result is hearing loss.
How many decibels are dangerous?
Noise’s loudness is measured in decibels. While individuals’ sensitivity to noise can be different, experts believe that damage to hearing occurs when noise levels are above 85 decibels. (This is similar to the volume of heavy traffic). As the noise increases, so does the likelihood of hearing damage. If you have to shout to be heard at work, or if your ears ring or sounds seem muffled after you finish work, then the noise level in your workplace is probably too high.
Noise and the effects of noise
In addition to hearing damage, exposure to constant and or excessive noise can induce all sorts of other health problems including headache, elevated blood pressure, fatigue, irritability, digestive disorders and an increased susceptibility to colds and other minor infections.
Reducing noise in the work place
Noise levels can be monitored in the work place using a sound level meter that detects the sound waves as they move through the air. Reducing exposure to excessive noise in the workplace can be achieved in various different ways:
- Changing or modifying equipment
- Changing the location of the equipment, or soundproofing its area
- Manage people’s time so that they have breaks between exposure to the noise
- Using PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to minimise exposure.
What if your hearing has been damaged?
If your hearing has been damaged as a result of your employment, and you can prove that your employer did not take their responsibilities seriously, you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation. Our solicitors have been dealing with cases like this for many years and will swiftly be able to inform you if you are eligible, and if so how much you could claim. Contact us today to see how we can help.