The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released a new report warning of the dangers of hearing loss for people exposed to loud noises.
The findings were particularly focused on young people listening to music for too long and at too high a volume, but the findings could just as easily capture the attention of workers who spend much of their day in a noisy environment.
The report includes a list of “safe listening times” for a range of items, which outlines the amount of time a person can be exposed to a certain volume before the noise could begin to damage their hearing.
It suggested that 90 decibels (dB) – equivalent to the noise made by a lawnmower – would be safe for up to two and a half hours, while 95dB (e.g. a motorbike) could be used for around 47 minutes. The loudest sound included in the report, 120dB, is reportedly only safe to listen to for 9 seconds.
Essentially, for every 5dB increase, the safe listening times decreased by somewhere in the region of 75%. The data outlined above reveals just how important it is for workers to be assigned the correct protective equipment to safeguard their hearing in the long term.
The importance of protecting your hearing at work
Employers have a responsibility to ensure their staff have ear protectors that are adequate for the job and in full working order. Anyone forced to work in a noisy environment without this equipment risks damaging their hearing in the long term, with symptoms often taking years to become apparent.
If you find yourself struggling to hear conversations, turning the television to a louder volume than normal or failing to hear telephones and doorbells, these could all be signs of industrial hearing loss. Speak to our team today on 0800 2800 094, or fill in our contact form to find out how our employment law experts could assist you.