The Dangers of Noise Exposure in Construction and Heavy Equipment Use

Working in construction is a tough job that comes with a lot of different hazards. One risk that tends to get neglected and affects people who work in construction is noise-induced hearing loss. Permanent hearing loss is a devastating health issue for anyone to deal with in any occupation.

There are a wide range of hearing loss causes when working in construction, but it often comes from the operation of various equipment on the job. Most of the equipment is loud and used for long periods of time. Exposure to this type of noise can gradually affect a person’s hearing over time, with many not realizing the damaging effects until it’s far too late.

Want to know what the causes of hearing loss in construction and the use of heavy equipment are? Continue reading to learn what we have found as the common causes of hearing loss that can occur from working in construction.

The Different Causes of Hearing Loss

The construction industry is surrounded by loud noises at high volumes for extended periods of time. Through the use of heavy equipment, people can be exposed to this kind of noise when working closely with the tools for long hours. This can result in one of three categories that classify the types of noise that lead to hearing loss in construction: broadband noise, impulse noise, and tonal noise.

Broadband Noise is sound that gets distributed over a wide audible range. This comes from heavy machinery and large vehicle frequencies with noise that have random broad patterns. Large trucks or other heavy-duty vehicles are examples of this.

Impulse noise is noise at a very high or sharp decibel volume. This can come from a jackhammer, chipping hammer, or similar machines used in construction. These can cause permanent occupational hearing loss due to their constant high decibel sounds.

Tonal noise is a noise that occurs with one frequency that is constant. This comes from machines like fans, motors, and other types of moving parts that vibrate or rotate. Construction workers can experience this when working with equipment, such as a joint cutter or electric saw.

Signs of Hearing Loss in Construction Workers

There are some red flags you can spot if you or someone else is exhibiting signs of hearing loss. A ringing in the ears or difficulty hearing someone over the phone can be beginning signs you can notice at first. Other red flags after prolonged exposure to loud noises include trouble hearing the ringing of a cell phone or backup alarms.

Some of the most severe signs of hearing loss are when you start to hear regular speech as muffled sounds. Asking others to repeat what they’ve said or hearing distorted speech is a huge warning to get your hearing checked by a doctor.

There are steps you can take to reduce these things during construction work. Using quieter equipment when possible, using molded ear plugs and ear muffs, as well as standing far away from a source of loud noise. Noise-reducing barriers, like plywood, can block noise and reduce any risk that leads to hearing loss.

Avoiding Occupational Hearing Loss

Knowing the different causes of hearing loss and how it can be harmful to you or anyone else while working in construction, you’ll be able to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and others from being affected by occupational hearing loss.

Find out more information on hearing loss by visiting the AudioCardio website, where you can read blog posts about preventing hearing loss and other auditory topics.