2011-08-01 12:00 - Messages

ADM Noise Exposure Calculator

The ADM noise exposure calculator helps identifying hotspots of noise exposure at work, at the discotheque and by use of an MP3 player. The ADM noise exposure calculator has been produced and is maintained by the IFA – Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance

Source : http://www.dguv.de/ifa/en/pra/softwa/laermbelastungsrechner/index.jsp

Elevated prevalence values of tinnitus, sensitivity to noise and hearing impairment are found at discharge compared to before military service.

Data from the 2010 Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) were analyzed. The prevalence of SHI among veterans was significantly greater than among nonveterans. Veterans were 30% more likely to have SHI than nonveterans after adjusting for age and current occupation. These findings suggest a need for increased emphasis on improving military hearing conservation programs (HCPs) and on hearing loss surveillance in military and veterans' health systems.

Source: Severe Hearing Impairment Among Military Veterans --- United States 2010,  Matthew R. Groenewold, PhD, Sangwoo Tak, ScD, Elizabeth Masterson, CDC; Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). July 22, 2011 / 60(28); 955-958.


In an other study, The influence of military service on self-assessed hearing symptoms and measured auditory function was studied as well as the efficacy of the Hearing Conservation Program (HCP) of the Swedish Armed Forces. Elevated prevalence values of tinnitus, sensitivity to noise and hearing impairment at discharge was found compared to before military service. And an elevated risk of hearing decline during military service. Improvements regarding inclusion criteria for military service and for education regarding the HCP are suggested.

Source: The influence of military service on auditory health and the efficacy of a hearing conservation program. Muhr P, Rosenhall U.,  Noise Health [serial online] 2011 [cited 2011 Jul 19];13:320-7.

From: http://www.noiseandhealth.org/text.asp?2011/13/53/320/82965

New comprehensive OSHA Web page on preventing work-related hearing loss contains a wealth of information to help businesses and workers

OSHA launched a new Safety and Health Topics page on Occupational Noise Exposure to provide resources to prevent noise-related hearing loss, which has been listed as one of the most prevalent occupational health concerns in the United States for more than 25 years. Approximately 30 million people in the United States are occupationally exposed to hazardous noise and thousands of workers every year suffer from preventable hearing loss due to high workplace noise levels. The new Web page provides information on the health effects of hazardous noise exposure and comprehensive information on controls to prevent hearing loss.

Source : http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/noisehearingconservation/index.html

Mechanical vibration to walking/working surfaces at elevation should be minimized for construction workers' balance.

The risk of falls from height on a construction site increases under conditions which degrade workers' postural control. At elevation, workers depend heavily on sensory information from their feet to maintain balance. The study tested two hypotheses: undetectable random mechanical vibrations at the plantar surface of the feet can improve worker's balance at elevation; and detectable random mechanical vibrations can have a degrading effect on balance in the same experimental settings. Sensory suppression (detectable vibration) associated with elevated vibration levels on a construction site may increase the danger of losing balance. Construction workers at elevation, e.g, on a beam or narrow plank might be at increased risk of fall if they can detect vibrations under their feet. To reduce the possibility of losing balance, mechanical vibration to supporting structures used as walking/working surfaces should be minimized when performing construction tasks at elevation.

Source: Postural stability effects of random vibration at the feet of construction workers in simulated elevation. Simeonov P. et al. Appl Ergon. 2011 Jul; 42(5):672-81. Epub 2010 Nov 11.


Concern as headsets to track cable faults deafen workers

130 both current and former BT employees suffered hearing damage working at British Telecom. They believe their hearing was damaged by 'green set' and 'yellow set' oscillators - devices which transmit a constant high pitched sound through a headset, allowing the user to listen for changes in tone to track cable faults. BT has already admitted that these oscillators have caused hearing loss and tinnitus to a large number of users and has withdrawn both oscillators from use.

On July 22nd 2011, Industrial illness lawyers have called for communications companies to withdraw equipment which they say is leaving engineers deafened or with hearing damage. The British Telecom's (BT) ‘green set' and ‘yellow set' oscillators are widely used in the communications industry.

Source: Irwin Mitchell Solicitors news release. Tinnitus Awareness Week, 4-11 February 2011.


And in: Call for urgent withdrawal of telecoms equipment,   Telecommunications news and events, Telco.co.uk, July 22nd 2011.


The implementation and enforcement of noise controls are essential to the success of any occupational hearing conservation program.

The National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA) sent a letter to the United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) advocating the regulatory body to revisit the interpretation and application of noise controls in industrial workplaces. In January 2011, OSHA withdrew its proposal to interpret guidelines emphasizing the use of engineering and administrative controls to mitigate occupational noise. 

 “The implementation and enforcement of noise controls are essential to the success of any occupational hearing conservation program, and often provide additional production efficiencies for a company.” said Dr. Tim Rink, NHCA president. The advantages of noise control include: the reduction of potential user error, negligence, or deliberate non compliance regarding the use of hearing protectors such as earplugs or earmuffs; improved hazard awareness and perception of safety alerts and warnings; reduction of the risk of life-altering hearing loss, tinnitus, and other effects of excessive noise exposure; and the cost effectiveness of noise controls as a long-term strategy for addressing the hazard of excessive workplace noise. 

Source: National Hearing Conservation Association Advocates Review of OSHA Interpretation of Feasibility of Occupational Noise Controls. NHCA PRESS RELEASE – April 20, 2011.


From:  http://www.hearingconservation.org/

An association between occupational noise exposure of low to moderate level and sickness absence is possible…

But to settle the question more high quality studies are needed. Noise in non-industrial workplaces is an increasing problem. Annoyance and complaints over noise are frequently reported in these workplaces, whereas the risk of hearing damage is usually not the major concern. Could it be a cause of increased sickness absence via a mechanism starting with job dissatisfaction or via health problems caused by the noise exposure? Only 3 epidemiological studies have investigated the effect of occupational noise on sickness absence. In the one study most pertinent to the question, noise was associated with increased sickness absence in women holding jobs with complex work tasks. No firm conclusions can be made based on the studies that have illuminated possible intermediate steps to sickness absence. One reason is the wide variety of scopes and contexts addressed in these studies; another reason is the presence of major weaknesses in many of the studies.

Source: Is noise exposure in non-industrial work environments associated with increased sickness absence? Jesper Kristiansen; Multi Science Publishing, Acoustics and Vibration, Dynamical Systems, Control, Volume 9, Number 4 / December 2010, p. 49-58, DOI 10.1260/1475-4738.9.4.49, April 12, 2011.



Driving an unloaded bucket resulted in significantly higher levels of vibration exposure than with a loaded bucket.

Although it is not possible to conclude that high levels of WBV exposure were the only cause of the reported neck and back discomfort, vibration levels experienced by the underground mining load-haul-dump (LHD) operators indicated health risks were likely to develop, with a higher probability of injury to the back. Analysis of all operators’ injury profiles and their vibration profiles will be important in future studies in order to determine whether these variables are related.


The mining industry will need to consider a number of different intervention strategies to have an impact on injury reduction. The evaluation and implementation of control strategies addressing road maintenance, operating speed, vehicle maintenance, and operator seat design will be required to reduce LHD operator’s vibration exposure levels below values associated with elevated injury risk.


Influence of vehicle size, haulage capacity and ride control on vibration exposure and predicted health risks for LHD vehicle operators. Tammy Eger; Journal of low frequency noise, vibration and active control, Vol. 30 No. 1 2011.





Plusieurs gymnases d'école nouvellement construits ne respectent pas les normes de performance acoustiques attendues (temps de réflexion).

 Cette étude montre que les finitions des gymnases sont principalement acoustiquement réfléchissantes, à l’exception de bandes continues du panneau absorbant du mur supérieur autour du périmètre des salles. Après l’installation d'une autre bande continue de panneau absorbant au-dessous des panneaux existants, les temps de réflexion (RT) ont été remesurés et se sont trouvés plus hauts qu’auparavant. Un champ acoustique insuffisamment diffus et des modes d’onde stationnaire non interrompus dans la partie non traitée au bas de la salle auraient contribué aux résultats inattendus. L'addition personnes ou de feuilles de contreplaqué réduit les RT mesurés, un résultat plus près des prédictions modélisées.

« …to more fairly and accurately assess the RT criterion applicable to the project, it was important to add diffusion in an appropriate amount to emulate the diffusion that would be provided by a typical class size of 25 (K-6) students and one teacher obtained by adding seven sheets of plywood distributed throughout the gym... It has been suggested that the plywood panels change the propagation and reflection of the sound waves thus of the reflected sound incident on the acoustically absorptive wall panels and acoustic deck…»


Source: Reverberation measurement and prediction in gymnasia with non-uniformly distributed absorption; the importance of diffusion. Kevin Packer and Clifford Faszer. Canadian Acoustics / Acoustique canadienne, Vol. 39 No. 1 (2011), p31-37.


Will brain plasticity be used to improve sensory hand function and diminish disability in vibration induced hand problems?

The well-developed feedback system between the hand and the brain, with continuous proprioception and tactile input that are coordinated with memory systems in the brain, is a prerequisite for regulation of grip force and grip speed. A reorganisation of the cortical hand map can be found after long term work with hand-held vibrating tools; in such situations the cortical hand map is distorted and rearranged into a disorganized pattern. This case series shows that repeated cutaneous forearm anaesthesia over an eight-week period can improve hand function, focusing on sensation. With booster doses of EMLA® once a month after the initial 8-week treatment we saw a long-lasting effect of up to 4 years in this group objectively improving hand function and reducing disability in persons with vibration-induced neuropathy.

However, this is an initial series of cases in a long-term study, and the optimal protocol concerning time, dose, and practical handling of the cream aimed at achieving a long-lasting or permanent effect on sensory recovery has yet to be defined in larger randomized controlled studies.

Source: Improving hand sensibility in vibration induced neuropathy: A case-series. Birgitta Rosén, Anders Björkman, and Göran Lundborg; J Occup Med Toxicol. 2011; 6: 13.  Published online 2011 April 27. doi:  10.1186/1745-6673-6-13


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