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Five-Minute Meeting: Noise Levels and Hearing Damage

November 15, 2022

hearing damage

Did you know? Prolonged use of equipment that emits noise levels above 85 decibels (dB) can cause permanent hearing damage, so it’s crucial that everyone uses proper hearing protection.

A decibel is a unit that measures the loudness of sound. A chainsaw has a sound intensity of about 109dB; without proper hearing protection, running a chainsaw for only two minutes can cause permanent hearing damage or hearing loss.

The graph below shows the time it takes to cause permanent hearing damage for each approximate sound intensity.

learn how to prevent hearing damage

How to Prevent Hearing Damage

A good rule of thumb for sound intensity is if you need to raise your voice to be heard an arm’s length away from you, the noise is likely loud enough to damage your hearing, so you should be wearing ear protection.

If you experience the following sensations, The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration suggests noise might be a problem in your workplace.

  • Hear ringing or humming in your ears when you leave work
  • Have to shout to be heard by a coworker an arm’s length away
  • Experience temporary hearing loss when leaving work

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminds us, hearing aids do not correct hearing the way glasses correct vision. Nothing can restore lost hearing. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. But hearing loss caused by noise is preventable — and you can choose to prevent it.

ACRT Arborist Training Staff

ACRT Arborist Training provides entry-level through advanced arborist classes and certifications for line clearance companies, government agencies, tree care companies, municipalities, and individuals around the nation.


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