Noise in industrial and office settings is nothing new, and despite efforts to protect staff from exposure to that noise, it continues to be a problem. Giving people personal hearing protection is one way to help keep everyone's hearing safe, but your staff can't wear those all the time. You have to do what you can to lower the noise level.
Noise Makes It Harder to Concentrate
Have you ever turned down the radio in your car in order to focus on where you're going? The same phenomenon happens in a noisy workspace, be it a factory or an open-plan office. Your staff might still do a good job, but it could be hard for them to concentrate for the whole day as the noise becomes overwhelming. For offices, allowing people to wear noise-canceling headphones is a good idea; for factories and other industrial settings, hearing protection and following the advice of an industrial noise consultant is a good idea.
Impact Sounds Are Particularly Bad
Impact sounds, such as hammering or when a door slams, are particularly bad because they, in effect, shock your auditory system. These tend to be among the worst sounds to listen to if you're trying to protect your hearing. And, while the people responsible for the noise may have hearing protection, passersby might not. You have to create a way to isolate the impact noises and insulate other parts of the facility from them.
Your Ears Can Become Kind of Numb to the Noise After a While
When you're exposed to constant loud noises, a couple of things can happen. One is that your hearing threshold, the point at which a sound becomes audible to you, shifts. It becomes harder to hear. For many people, this is a temporary shift, the type of thing that happens after a loud concert. But for others, the shift is permanent, at least partly, so while they may get some hearing back afterward, they don't get all of it. And with constant loud noise exposure, those threshold shifts can very well turn from temporary to permanent.
The other thing is that as the hearing threshold shifts in your ears and brain, you can become kind of used to or numb toward the noise. And that makes the noise even more dangerous because you no longer try to take precautions against it.
An industrial noise consultant can help you identify ways to reduce sound levels, from increasing personal protection to dampening echoes and adding sound insulation and isolation. When you remove the exposure to the loudest noise, you may find your staff seems more comfortable and works better overall.