Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)
Sound is a form of wave which received and interpreted by ear as hearing. Too much noise could damage the auditory nerves and cause permanent hearing loss. This is called Noise-Induced Hearing Loss or NIHL.
Sound can damage hearing when:
i. The sound is too loud although is just for a while.
ii. Loud noise in long durations.
Ambient Sound Level
These are the ambient sound level of some condition (measured in unit of (dB) or Decibel):
- Whispering = 20 dB
- Houses area in a village = 30 dB
- Living room = 40 dB
- Urban house area = 50 dB
- Conversation = 60 dB
- Car = 70 dB
- Small truck = 80 dB
- Big truck = 90 dB
- Drill = 100 dB
- Rock band = 110 dB
- Aircraft = 120 dB
* The safe level of exposure for hearing is at the level of 85 dB in only for 8 hours daily!
How Loud Is Too Loud?
Know which noises can cause damage. Wear ear plugs when you are involved in a loud activity.
- More that 110 Decibels – Regular exposure of more than 1 minute risks permanent hearing loss.
- 100 Decibels – No more than 15 minutes of unprotected exposure recommended.
- 85 Decibels – Prolonged exposure to any noise at or above 85 decibels can cause gradual hearing loss.
Hearing Problem Signs
A person can recognized that he or she is having a hearing problem by these signs:
1. The person can hear but cannot understand the conversation meaning.
2. Ears whizzing (tinnitus).
3. Always requesting a repeat for the conversation.
4. The talker seen or appear as mumbling by the listener.
Protecting Your Hearing
If you are working at noisy places, these are some steps which you can do to protect your hearing:
i. Use hearing protector for example ears protector (earmuff) or earplug at work or when having a noisy recreational activity.
ii. Limit the time exposed to noise. In you have to, you must alternate the time exposed to sound with rest time.
iii. Avoid hearing music at a very loud level.
As the worker, you should;
1. Obey the rule of application of hearing protector.
2. Follow hearing schedule of inspection as prescribed by the employer.
3. Take part in ears and hearing care programs which organized at workplace.
4. You can submit claims from the employer if you are confirmed to experience hearing loss caused by the noise at your workplace. This is your hearing loss compensation.
As an employer, you should;
1. Limit the hearing time to noise to not exceeding the allowed time limit.
2. Educate and supervise employee about ways of working in noisy place.
3. Do periodic audiometry if necessary.
4. Prepare hearing protector.
5. Report to the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) about the employee which is found experiencing hearing loss.