These Construction Tools Can Permanently Damage Your Hearing

Did you know that 1 million people in the UK are exposed to hearing-damaging noise at work?

If you work in construction – you’re most likely aware that the industry is a noisy business.

But did you also know that the sector has the second-highest rate of people developing occupational deafness?

To help raise awareness, Insulation Express have investigated the loud truth of construction tools – from uncovering the effects of working with noisy tools to highlighting the (unexpected) hacks for saving your hearing –

Stand out stats:

  • Removing your hearing protection for just five minutes cuts your overall protection by 56% – and can be the cause of permanently damaging your hearing.
  • Using a power drill for 15 minutes (125dB) is almost the same noise level as a military jet taking off (130db).
  • At the top of the noise scale is a cartridge tool. Even using this for one second creates sound levels of 157dB – which can permanently damage your hearing if you’re without protection.
  • Since Q1 of 2019, noise breaches on construction sites are up 25% – which proves that the industry is only getting noisier, too.
  • Work-related hearing costs the NHS £500 million every year.

The Noise Levels On a Construction Site (And Their Comparisons)  

Have you ever wondered how loud your tools are? Luckily, Insulation Express have uncovered the dB of the most common tools found on site – without hearing protection. Each tool has then been ordered from loudest to quietest so that construction workers can understand the hearing implications that come from working with these tools.

Also as a word of warning, being exposed to anything at 85bD or higher for extended periods of time can permanently damage your hearing. As you can see, every construction tool is above 85dB, which means that hearing protection should always be worn:

Real-life Example of Hearing Loss in the Construction Industry

Bob Gowen a volunteer for Hearing Link and an electrician for over 35 years, has unfortunately lost some of his hearing due to working in construction.  He believes that construction employees are “now [working] in noisier environments” than he did, yet “private contractors don’t supply ear protection for their staff.”

Gowen added that the main concern is that younger employees don’t seem to realise what the noise is doing to their hearing, so “getting them to wear protection is another problem.” Unfortunately, this means that “by the time they get into the 40 and 50 [age] bracket it is usually too late to save their hearing,” Gowen noted.

How Employers Can Protect Their Workers

According to the World Health Organisation, 50% of all hearing issues can be prevented through various health measures. This is why it is important for employers to:

  • Supply hearing protection – unfortunately, once you lose your hearing, you can’t get it back. It’s therefore important to always wearing hearing guards.
  • Purchase quieter tools – which have silent blades and nozzles.
  • Make machinery as quiet as possible – this can be be done by using pads to minimise vibration or replacing fans and motors.
  • Limit the amount of time workers are exposed to a noisy task.

Interested in the full findings?

Alternatively, download the research, sources, image and real-life example:

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