Hearing Safety in the Workplace

By: Steve Ham, Lofton Safety Services

Jun 8, 2021

The best protection to help you with potential hearing loss in the workplace is to eliminate the hazard. So how loud does the noise need to be to damage a person’s hearing?  Hearing loss can occur when exposed to 85 decibels of noise over 8 hours. Normal conversations typically occur at 60 decibels, well below the hearing-loss threshold.  For every 3 decibel increase over 85 decibels, hearing loss can occur in half the amount of time. The louder the noise, the faster hearing loss occurs.  

Where do workplace noises fit into this picture?  

  • Air compressors from 3 feet away register 92 decibels, which would take less than 2 hours to cause hearing loss.
  • Powered drills register 98 decibels, which would cause damage after 30 minutes.
  • Typical factories often register at 100 decibels – that’s 15 minutes of exposure.
  • Powered saws can reach 110 decibels from 3 feet away, which could cause permanent hearing loss in under 2 minutes.  

Front line defense against workplace hearing loss begins with proper PPE that meets OSHA hearing protection requirements. Ear plugs provide the greatest amount of protection as long as they are inserted in the ear canal correctly. Ear muffs can also reduce the decibel exposures, though not to the extent that ear plugs can. 


Some common indications that the noise levels in the workplace may be too loud include:  

  • If they complain about the loudness of the noise.
  • If they complain of headaches or ear aches over a shift.
  • If they complain the noise level makes normal conversation difficult.   

With the proper hearing protection controls in place, employers and employees can reduce and protect against potentially damaging hearing loss.  


How can Lofton Safety help?

Workers have a right to a safe workplace. If you have questions regarding safety issues or training, contact Lofton Safety Services at 337-330-2642 or info@loftonsafety.com. For other valuable worker protection information, such as Workers' Rights, Employer Responsibilities and other services OSHA offers, visit www.osha.gov.


About Lofton: Founded in 1979, Lofton Services offers clients the best of all worlds. We provide the responsive, personal service and flexibility of a small local firm while having the technology, resources, and infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the biggest players in our industry. Lofton Staffing can deliver the right people, with the right skills, right when you need them. Contact us today

←Back to Blog

We Believe...

Relationships are built…one on one.
Know your people - match interest and talents to the tasks.
Don’t manage by numbers. (They just show if we’re on track.) People do the work.
People should feel better when they leave than when they came – and in turn we feel better.
When we help others, we help ourselves.
Great expectations: fair pay, fair treatment, teach me.
Have fun…and be better.
Work at having fun (51% of the time.) If you don’t feel it, fake it. Having fun is not slacking off. Work is more natural than play.