The Hearing Loss Risk Curve

The Hearing Loss Risk Curve

HSSEHealth, Safety, Security and Environment. This describes the code, policies and standards that the industry must follow to maintain health and safety on the job and for the environment. BulletinBulletins highlight issues that will be experienced throughout the industry, and prove a useful tool to encourage the raising of standards and awareness of health and safety issues industry wide. No 586
21 September 2017

The Hearing Loss Risk Curve

At this year’s Xmo Strata safety week, we made several commitments to our employees regarding their welfare, health and fitness and one of them was to employ an Occupational Health Practitioner to monitor noise levels on a site we are working on and if necessary generate an action plan to manage the noise as effectively and reasonably practicably as we can.

Following the on-site assessment that was conducted by our environmental services partner using Rion Analysers, we attended three IOSH Noise Workshops which illustrated the damage that noise can do in a very effective way. The graph below is shared with the express permission of Industrial Noise & Vibration Centre, whom we are pleased to credit as the information source.

This graph depicts the effect of noise on peoples hearing over various exposure times and you will note that the longer the exposure time, the more hearing loss is sustained. The percentage of the population affected is measured as the percentage with moderate or severe hearing loss.

The bottom line indicates that typically, 5% of the population will suffer from significant hearing loss in old age. The top line shows that after exposure to 110dB of noise for 10 years, more than 40% of people will suffer significant hearing loss and more than 90% will after 50 year’s exposure.


We already implement a “Buy Quiet” policy and that was the foundation of our power tool supply agreement negotiated in 2015, but to put this into context of our work, fitting canopy fascia back frames using a tek gun (without noise control measures) was measured at 94dB LAeq, with a peak noise level of 120.6 dB LAeq.

Cutting back frames using a circular saw (without noise control measures) was measured at 99.8 dB LAeq, with a peak noise level of 119.7 dB LAeq.

A generator used for Jet Wash purposes (without noise control measures) was measured at 91.8 dB LAeq, with a peak noise level of 109.8 dB LAeq.

Spraying fuel dispensers using a compressor (without noise control measures) was measured at 78.4 dB LAeq, but had a peak noise level of 99.1 dB LAeq. 

A SD drill (without noise control measures) was measured at 89.6 dB LAeq, with a peak noise level of 111.8 dB LAeq. 

If you compare the reading taken with the graph above, it illustrates why noise management is necessary on the sites that we work on. 

As part of the Control of Noise at Work regulations 2005, there is a general duty on us all to reduce noise exposure to the lowest level reasonably practicable, even if we don’t exceed and of the action or limit values.

Our latest XmoHub on line complementary training course specifically addresses this issue, details the control measures we have investigated, those we have implemented and this is part of a comprehensive noise management programme that we have mapped out to fully implement by March 2018.

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