Noise is the variation of air pressure comprising compressions and rarefactions of longitudinal waves.
It is the magnitude of the compressions and rarefactions that determine the noise levels. As the exposure to the magnitude of noise level increases, the risk of Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) increases.
A person can generally perceive a 1 – 3 dB change in noise levels. However the perceptions of noise levels are different to the actual energy that the ear is subjected. The perception of noise levels double every 10 dB, however the increase in energy experienced by the ear is doubled every 3dB. When it comes to the potential for noise induced hearing loss, it is the noise energy level that is critical. The noise energy levels considered to be excessive when noise levels exceeds an LAeq, 8hr of 85 dB(A) or LC,peak exceeds 140 dB(C).
Noise levels can be steady state or impact. Steady refers to the continuous noise levels not varying by more than 6 dBa. Impact or impulse noise occur from a sudden peak in noise followed by an exponential decay which may cause acoustic shock.
For more information on noise testing or management please contact one of Safe Environments Occupational Hygienists or Noise Consultants
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For more information on noise testing or management please contact one of Safe Environments Occupational Hygienists or Noise Consultants located in the following Australian cities: