Noise exposure

Noise exposure

Like a lot of people, I start my day with a cup of coffee.

But I’ve recorded the noise level from my local coffee shop, and the grinder is an astounding 81 dB(A)!

If you asked most people what they thought the loudest jobs were, I guarantee a coffee shop wouldn’t even feature in the top ten.

However, many jobs in the hospitality industry expose workers to noise levels that can be damaging to their hearing. Some of the loudest jobs in hospitality are:

  • Bar staff at music venues
  • Night-club security
  • Coffee shop baristas
  • Fast-food restaurant kitchen staff

Exposure to loud noise can have long-term effects on hearing. This includes both short duration exposure at a very high level, or regular long duration exposure from a variety of sources such as speakers playing music or regular use of coffee grinders, blenders and fryers.

Some of the effects of this are:

  • Noise-induced hearing loss
  • Other forms of hearing damage such as tinnitus (a ‘ringing’ in the ear)
  • Acoustic shock (sudden exposure to very loud noise) which may cause damage to hearing

Currently regulations stipulate that when workers are exposed to average noise levels above 80 dB(A), an assessment of the risk must be carried out, and when average noise is above 85 dB(A) (a level which can be exceeded in busy environments without other controls) hearing protection must be worn.

Often, however, more appropriate control measures can be put in place, which might include venue design, location of equipment and quiet areas to take breaks.

Did you know?

  • If you have to shout to talk to someone nearby the noise level is likely above 85 dB(A)
  • Every 3 decibel increase represents a doubling of noise!
  • Four hours exposure at 88 dB(A), and only 15 minutes at 100 dB(A) is equivalent to an averaged daily exposure of 85 dB(A)

If you’re unsure of your own noise exposure, get in contact to arrange an exposure assessment and take advantage of our industry leading noise mapping software.