Ever since the introduction of The Noise Regulations and Instruction 168 & 171, both the monitoring and control of noise in the workplace have been part of South African legislation. The recent changes in Milestone monitoring which introduces the STS for the mining industry will further assist mining companies to identify cases of NIHL earlier and thereby minimize noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), as well as reduce employee’s risk to other physiological and psychological effects associated with NIHL.
Let’s get back to the basics – What is hearing loss? Hearing loss is a decrease in the ability to perceive sounds. It can be partial or total, sudden or gradual, temporary or permanent. It can affect one ear or both ears. In general, the risk of hearing loss increases with age.
So what is noise induced hearing loss? NIHL is a permanent hearing impairment resulting from prolonged exposure to high levels of noise. Excessive noise exposure is the most common cause of hearing loss. One important factor regarding this type of hearing loss is that it can be reduced or prevented altogether. Habitual exposure to noise above 85 dB will cause a gradual loss of hearing that usually develops over a period of several years. Since it is painless and gradual, the affected person might not notice it. They might, however, notice a ringing sound (tinnitus) or have trouble understanding speech especially in a noisy environment. The eventual loss can be debilitating for the person concerned, but this hearing loss will also cause unnecessary & preventable issues to the family of the person affected by the NIHL.
How can we help? Amtronix has a range of Audiometers connected to the African Management software program that assists you in performing the audiometry test, managing and reporting on the results of the audiometry test.