Noise exists in almost all places, but how loud does it have to be before it affects indoor environmental quality and employee health?
Yearly, about 22 million workers are exposed to potentially harmful noises at work, according to OSHA. This makes hearing loss one of the most common work-related injuries. But since the effects commonly appear after a long period of time, noise-induced problems are often ignored. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health suggests that employees should avoid being exposed to noise levels that exceed 85 decibels (dBA) within eight consecutive hours. The most common sources of noise pollution in workplaces include air conditioning systems, heavy equipment, ringing phones, and people’s conversations.
To guarantee that workplace noise levels are still at its optimal range, continuous sound monitoring shall be performed. Various tools such as indoor environmental quality monitors with sound sensors and handheld sound level meters can be used. These devices provide information about the level of noise in a specific location so that it can be compared to the established noise standards.
Before taking noise measurements, it is important to get clearer understanding of the following:
- What is the purpose of measurement? (compliance with regulations, to prevent hearing loss, reduce workplace discomforts, etc.)
- The source of noise, the period of the day, and the duration when the sources are active
- Noise pattern (continuous, with intervals, impulse)
- Areas, spaces, or locations of exposed persons
The benefits of monitoring noise levels
Noise monitoring safeguards employees’ hearing from any excessive noise in the workplace that leads to hearing problems, insomnia, hypertension, heart disease, ear injuries, and the ringing and buzzing in the ear called tinnitus.
Work environments with regulated sound levels allow employees to communicate clearly, follow verbal instructions correctly, focus, and absorb written information easily knowing that the place is hushed and no loud distractions are present.
One of the most common effects of noise pollution that many of us are aware of is that it can lead to hearing loss, but did you know that sound level management is also necessary to fight stress? Any undesired sound triggers a stress response in the amygdala, a region of the brainstem. The amygdala learns, over time, what sounds signal potential danger. When one is detected, the amygdala prompts the release of cortisol, a stress hormone.
Monitor sound levels with uHoo Aura
Aside from measuring temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, particulate matter, light, total volatile organic compounds, air pressure, uHoo Aura also provides real-time and accurate information on the presence and severity of noise present within a built environment. By having the right data on the factors affecting your workplace’s indoor environmental quality, you will be able to make adjustments and devise strategies that are guaranteed to improve the health, safety, and the productivity of your employees.
Optimize your indoor environment using uHoo Aura.