Hard hats, safety glasses, gloves and safety harnesses all provide the wearer with immediate protection from a hazard. If you've been protected from a falling brick for example you know it’s happened and you can thank your lucky stars you were wearing a hard hat (hopefully you won’t be seeing stars!). However the role of hearing protection is quite different because noise industry hearing loss (NIHL) is a process which has a cumulative effect over the course of many years.

The effects of NIHL are generally irreversible but they are completely avoidable as long as the necessary action is taken prior to exposing a worker to sound hazards on a construction site.

Potential sound hazards on a construction site should be documented before the workers even arrive on site and an action plan put in place to eliminate any potential hearing damage from sound hazards.

It’s important to understand the nature of the sounds hazard in order to put in place a plan to deal with it. As such it’s important to understand that most hazardous noises you could expect to hear on a construction site aren't pure frequencies, rather the noise consists of a spectrum of frequencies at differing amplitudes.

We measure these sound frequencies in Decibels (dB), this is a measure of the way we interpret sound, rather than measuring the actual energy of the sound frequency. Continuous noises are often rated with an A scale (dBA). Sounds that come about due to an impact (think of gunfire) normally feature in the C scale (dBC).

It’s important to understand how noises outside the range of human hearing can affect a construction workers hearing and so it’s important to measure not just on the range of noise that can be heard but also on the range of sound frequencies. At all times bear in mind in your calculations that the dB scale in not a linear scale but a logarithmic scale.

If you are happy you understand which hearing protection equipment you require please view our hearing protection products or alternatively please call 01772 786000 to speak with one of our PPE specialists today!