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: