Preventing Hearing Damage in Mining

Preventing Hearing Damage in Mining

Most, if not all, mines are full of noise with the constant drilling and the use of heavy machinery, which leads to the potential for hearing damage. Most workers won't notice the damage to their hearing until long after they were first exposed to the noisy environment. Over-exposure to excessive noise can result in tinnitus, sleep disturbances, concentration problems and even permanent hearing loss. To protect workers against noise, mining companies should evaluate working conditions and noise exposure through the use of dosimeters. Companies should ensure proper use of personal hearing protection amongst noise-exposed employees, while providing necessary health and safety training. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) can be caused by a single exposure to a loud noise, and can affect the quality of life of those who suffer from it.

Symptoms:

The symptoms of NIHL can be difficult to identify at first, but the following can be indicators of hearing damage:

  • Slow decline in hearing
  • Sounds become "distorted" or "muffled"
  • Have difficulty understanding or hearing people
  • Can also result in tinnitus, which can cause a ringing sensation

Preventing NIHL: 

The first step in preventing NIHL is knowing what sounds have the potential to be harmful. Sounds over 85 decibels can result in hearing damage or loss. Using protective gear to prevent hearing damage is a practical way to physically prevent loss of hearing. If possible, removing yourself from the area, combined with regular hearing tests can help identify NIHL early on, and help

Solutions:

Noise Dosimeter:

A worn device that measures individuals exposure to noise over a specified period of time

Edge 5

  • Measures and stores sound pressure levels
  • Measures noise exposure over a period of time
  • Enhanced detailed information
  • Can be worn by a worker
  • Gives total weighted average or daily dose
  • Gives info that can easily be compared to government regulations
  • Can lead to overestimation of noise

Sound Level Meter:

 Measures ambient noise, giving an acoustic measurement for the environment

SD-200

  • Acoustic measurements
  • Reads changes in pressure caused by sound waves
  • Shows decibels
  • Real time measurement
  • Carried or mounted
  • Gives "snap shots", easer to measure specific things/events
You need to adequately assess any risks related to hearing loss.
A hearing protection plan is imperative at the mine face. A sound level meter can assess the overall environmental noise, where a noise dosimeter can give more detailed, individualized information. Together they can work together to comprehensively assess noise levels, allowing for employees to be properly outfitted to mitigate the risks. Call us today to be set up with the equipment you need to properly protect your workers!

April 23, 2019
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