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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 – https://www.insulationexpress.co.uk/blog/construction-tools-affecting-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:

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?

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