Workplace noise and hearing conservation
Prolonged and repeated exposure to loud noise can cause permanent damage to hearing, resulting in noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). In the work environment prevention of NIHL may be accomplished by means of a hearing conservation programme, which is aimed at identification, evaluation and control of personal noise exposures in the workplace. Exposure to noise outside of work may cause similar damage but is beyond the control of management. Therefore the measures outlined herein can never guarantee full protection but minimise the risk of hearing loss as a result of exposure to workplace noise. This report describes the general principles of protecting employee hearing ability. A companion volume, CONCAWE Report no. 85/58,I, Guidelines for hearing conservation programmes in the petroleum industry”, available on request from CONCAWE, provides more detailed technical guidance on the implementation of hearing conservation programmes in the petroleum industry.