Noise and Hearing Loss
Ontario Regulation 851, Section 139 details the workplace regulatory framework for the prevention of hearing loss. The Regulation includes a time-weighted average exposure limit of 85 dBA for worker exposure similar to the time-weighted average exposure limits for chemical agents. Control measures and warning signage for areas exceeding 85 dBA are also regulated under O. Reg. 851.
Why Be Concerned About Noise?
The risk of noise-induced hearing impairment is not noticeable until the damage is substantial enough to interfere with routine activities as:
- Hearing loss causes no pain
- Workers may feel discomfort and/or pain from excessive noise, but not from hearing loss
- The loss occurs gradually over time so that exposed workers don't notice the loss until significant damage has occurred
Once damaged, hearing cannot be restored. Damaged hearing can affect worker job performance, health and productivity.
Exposure to elevated noise levels may impact the quality of life for workers and their families and may cause:
- Hearing Loss
- Interference with Communications
- Psychological Effects
- Physiological Effects
- Lower Productivity
- Increased Absenteeism
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board estimates that $100 million in compensation costs have been paid out in the last decade.
How Can LEHDER Assist?
LEHDER is able to assist clients with their noise requirements by:
- Conducting noise dosimetry to assess worker exposure to noise.
- Performing noise surveys and acoustic assessments to identify and prioritize areas for noise abatement.
- Preparing noise survey maps to identify hearing protection areas.
- Recommending control measures to mitigate risks via engineering controls, work practices and procedures and personal protective equipment.
- Developing and/or reviewing new and existing hearing conservation programs.
For more detailed information on noise reduction and management strategies, please contact: