Permanent Hearing Loss
Noise pollution is quickly approaching epidemic proportions, due to the fact that hearing loss is so subtle people are frequently affected without even noticing. Noise-induced hearing loss is a cumulative and permanent sensory-neural hearing loss that develops over days, weeks, or even years of excessive noise exposure.
Other Major Medical Problems
Once this loss occurs, it is difficult for the person to notice when the noise level is too high. In addition to hearing loss, there are many studies showing that stress induced by noise is causing major medical problems as well.
Hearing Conservation Legislation
The hearing conservation amendment requires employers to monitor all employees exposed to noise levels between 80 dB and 130 dB. The following chart shows the maximum exposure time allowed at the given decibel level without hearing protection. As this chart reflects, there are debates within the controlling agencies as to just how loud "too loud" is. The EPA has the strictest guidelines, claiming noise exposure in excess of 76 dB over an 8-hour period is unhealthy. NIOSH guidelines start at 85 dB and OSHA at 90 dB.