This week (23-27 May) is Noise Action Week, an annual initiative of Environmental Protection UK (EPUK) which intends to focus attention on the difficulties and health risks that excessive noise can cause.
The idea is for local authorities, housing providers, mediation services and all those involved in neighbourhood noise management to raise awareness of services available and promote practical solutions.
The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) is the UK’s Chartered body for health and safety professionals and they have used this week as an opportunity to highlight the need for better advice for employers and employees in respect of noise exposure at work, focusing in particular on the entertainment industry.
They believe the hearing of people working in the UK’s music and entertainment industry is being placed at risk, and are calling for better awareness of how to protect the hearing of people within the industry.
The IOSH urge employers of the industry to safeguard their staff’s hearing by using some simple, low cost techniques as Peter Wilson, an IOSH course trainer explains;
“People think that earplugs ruin the quality of the music they hear. This is wrong, and it actually makes it easier for you to hear people who are talking to you while music is playing. It’s also a myth that louder is best, as our ears actually become numb to certain levels of sound when it’s played at a higher volume, meaning you appreciate it less.”
“One extra dose can be all it takes to begin a lifetime of hearing problems, and while people might think the things they do now aren’t having an impact, later in life they could find they become partially deaf. That does apply to the crowd too, but for unprotected staff the likelihood becomes so much higher, they’re the people we really want to reach.”
The Noise at Work Act 2005 made it a legal obligation for companies to manage the risk their noise levels create. The IOSH report that the latest figures show 21,000 people a year experience work-related hearing problems, while 10 per cent of the nation’s adults currently have tinnitus all the time. The British Tinnitus Association (BTA) statistics suggest that one per cent of adults’ tinnitus is so severe it affects their quality of life.
Any initiative to tackle those figures is to be welcomed. For more information about Noise Action Week visit http://www.noiseactionweek.org.uk/