How much noise will cause hearing loss over a lifetime?

For many years, those working in the field of industrial noise control have struggled to educate people about how much noise will cause hearing loss over a lifetime. Part of the difficulty is a result of the logarithmic nature of decibel scaling. The concept of expressing noise exposure in industrial environments without decibels is the focus of this paper. Eldred (“Sound Exposure without Decibels,” Inter-Noise 86) discusses this approach for community noise.39 ANSI Standard S3.44-1996 defines sound exposure; the units are Pascals squared seconds, or PASQUES, as noted by Eldred. This article proposes that a safe value for lifetime occupational exposure to noise be expressed in terms of PASQUES. The authors discuss the pros and cons of such an approach and offer 11.5 million PASQUES as the upper limit for a safe lifetime exposure to occupational noise. Noise exposure of workers in the industry should be expressed in PASQUES to facilitate the easy calculation of the lifetime occupational noise exposure.


Source: Safe Lifetime Occupational Noise Exposure – 1 LONE. Robert D. Bruce, Arno S. Bommer, Noel W. Hart, and Kimberly A. Riegel, , Sound and Vibration, June 2011.

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