Noise is something that all of us encounter and it can be defined as any undesirable sound. Noise has non-auditory as well as auditory effects on human beings.
Non-auditory (non-hearing) effects include:
Decrease in working efficiency
Physiological effects such as changes in heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension and gastro-intestinal mobility.
Auditory (hearing) effects include
Interference with speech communication
Sudden hearing loss
Long term effect: noise-induced permanent hearing loss
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is a very serious, permanent problem especially because it can be avoided. A person who works in a noisy environment, like miners, factory workers and construction workers, can show a noise induced hearing loss in as little as five years after starting to work in noise.
It is important to have your ears tested at least once a year if you work in noise and to ensure that you wear hearing protection. Hearing protection can prevent hearing loss! There is no need for any person to suffer from a NIHL and yet the prevalence of NIHL is staggering. It causes the company and government thousands of rands each month in compensation claims which has a negative influence on the economy as a whole.