Construction sites are noisy places. Noisy activities on construction sites include the use of jackhammers, dump trucks, cement mixers, cement cutters, electric saws, tamping machines, welding machines, sledge hammers and drills. According to NIOSH, 22 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise each year.
Thousands of construction workers suffer hearing damage as a result of noise exposure every year. Hearing impairment can be permanent and can affect workers for the rest of their lives, both during their working years and in retirement. Studies have also shown that loud noise can increase blood pressure and heart rate and may lead to stomach problems and sleeplessness.
Hearing loss is a gradual and irreversible process. Without an audiometric test, few workers will realize the level of hearing loss they are experiencing until it is too late. For this reason, preventing exposure to hazardous levels of noise is the best method to protect workers’ hearing. Preventing noise-induced hearing loss involves the use of hearing protection when operating equipment or working in a noisy area, providing hearing tests for workers and training workers on the dangers of noise and how to prevent exposure.