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16.03 Occupational Noise & Health

Pilot studies of noise annoyance in relation to time, amplitude and frequency characteristics of sound
Time: 11:20 am

Author: Jan Radosz

Abstract ID: 1720

Noise is any unwanted sound that may be disruptive or harmful to health or increase the risk of an accident at work. Noise as a stressor can contribute to the development of various types of diseases, cause distraction, make work difficult and reduce its efficiency. Aim of the pilot studies was to asses noise annoyance in relation to time, amplitude and frequency characteristics of sound in typical office environment. The Vienna Test System was used for this purpose. Virtual office acoustic environments were developed with different psychoacoustic parameters, but with a constant A-weighted sound pressure level of 55 dB - environment with conversations, environment with office equipment (computers, printers, telephones), environment D with all office noise sources together. The reference environment was a quiet office room with no additional noise sources. Recorded real noise sources were transferred to a virtual 3D sound environment and converted into binaural sound, which was then played back on headphones.  During the exposure to each of the acoustic environments, the subjects performed the ALS test (work performance series) and then assessed the given environment using a questionnaire. The tested acoustic environments were assessed in the range from not at all annoying to very annoying. On average, environments with office noise were rated as moderately annoying. However, subjective feelings of the respondents were not reflected in the results of psychological tests.

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Priorities for occupational noise in Britain
Time: 12:00 pm

Author: chris steel

Abstract ID: 1728

Regulation of occupational exposure to noise in Britain for 50 years has reduced risk.  However, statistics from around the globe (and in Britain alone) suggest that the range in harm is between around zero and more than 1 in 4 workers exposed to high noise. The uncertainty in statistics and the potential high incidence and prevalence of harm justifies investigation. In Britain, we will investigate the current risk of occupational hearing loss and the effectiveness of current noise control measures. We propose to gather data during inspections of industries that are known to have high levels of workplace noise. Finding high incidence of hearing damage will indicate a failure of immediate management of risk and likely result in enforcement action. We propose to review employers’ control of noise propagation in the workplace through use and maintenance of noise controls supplied with machines and supplemented with acoustic barriers and noise havens. We propose to review suppliers design and build of noise control into their products and their reported noise emissions for noisiest typical use. We are looking to benefit from the experience of our global counterparts before finalising our plans.

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Evaluating worker noise exposure levels in the presence of complex noise
Time: 12:20 pm

Author: William Murphy

Abstract ID: 1910

Recent research into the assessment of worker noise exposure has demonstrated that the combination of impulsive noise and continuous noise creates an additional risk of developing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).  Zhang et al (2021) demonstrated that workers exposed to non-Gaussian noise accumulated NIHL at a faster rate over their careers than worker exposed to Gaussian noise. The kurtosis statistic of the sound pressure distribution provides a means to adjust the estimated risk of hearing loss between exposure groups exposed to different types of noise.  This paper will review the results from our recent studies of kurtosis and exposure level. Some unanswered questions involve the selection of a suitable sample length to estimate kurtosis, the selection of a compensation factor to apply, and understanding the differences exhibited in short (less than 10 years) and long-term exposures and kurtosis.

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Status – International Space Station (ISS) Crewmembers’ Noise Exposures
Time: 12:40 pm

Author: Jose Limardo

Abstract ID: 2219

Environmental noise in space vehicles, caused by onboard equipment and crew activities, has generated concerns for crew health and safety since early U.S. space missions. The International Space Station (ISS) provides a unique environment where acoustic conditions can be monitored while crewmembers from the U.S. and their international partners work and live for as long as 6 to 12 consecutive months.  This review of acoustic dosimetry data collected to date reveals that the noise exposure limits of NASA’s stringent noise constraint flight rule have been exceeded in 41% of these dosimetry measurements since ISS Increment 17 (2008), with undefined impacts to crew.  These measurements do not take into account the effects of hearing protection devices worn by the crew.  The purpose of this paper is to provide an update on ISS noise exposure monitoring approaches and hearing conservation strategies that include acoustic dosimetry data collected since the ISS Increment 55 mission (April 2018). Future directions and recommendations for the ISS noise exposure monitoring program will also be presented, including research initiatives aimed at better defining the impact of ISS noise on crew health and performance.

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How well does Spain manage occupational noise and vibration risks?
Time: 11:40 am

Author: Rafael Sánchez-Guardamino Elorriaga

Abstract ID: 2733

From the analysis of Spanish national statistics on occupational diseases notification during the period 2009 – 2018, a prospective study on the level of compliance with the national implementation of both European Union directives 2003/10/CE and 2002/44/CE respectively, is undertaken. Research is developed by Occupational Health and Safety National Institute in liaison with Spanish autonomous regional governments. Questionnaires were designed by technical personal from the national Institute in order to collect relevant information. These questionnaires were fulfilled in situ by specialized and qualified civil servants from several autonomous regions. Up to 566 companies take part of the study from different economical activities, in which outstanding noise and/or vibration risk is present. The study conclude in relation to preventive management of noise that, both there are serious deficiencies in the characterization of the exposure, and it also entails a very low effectiveness in reducing risk. As far as vibration risk management is concerned, a deficient specific legal regulatory implementation is found. As a result, of such conclusions, an action plan is being designed to improve working conditions by means of assuring the compliance with legislation.

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The evolution of quiet lawn mowers and their impact on community noise and hearing conservation
Time: 1:00 pm

Author: Leslie Blomberg

Abstract ID: 2877

Noise measurements of more than 600  lawn mowers were made at 25 feet and at the operator’s ear between 2004 and 2021.  These data are presented and compared with the measurement of more than 60 mowers in 1973 by the US EPA.  With the exception of electric lawn mowers, very little progress has been made quieting lawn mowers.  Electric lawn mowers are significantly quieter than gas mowers.  Recently, with improvements in battery technology, the performance of electric mowers has improved significantly.   There are currently electric push, self-propelled, and ride-on mowers with comparable performance to gas powered mowers.  Finally, the impacts of lawn mower noise on community noise and hearing conservation are discussed.

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Hearing protection and communication in high noise environments using vibration sensing and neural network voice transformation
Time: 1:20 pm

Author: Willem Beltman

Abstract ID: 2925

In the United States alone, there are more than 9 million workers who are exposed to high levels of noise (> 85 dBA) that require hearing protection. Not only is there a risk of hearing damage due to these high noise levels, but it also prevents communication between people, leading to significant safety risks, including people not using hearing protection because of the desire to communicate. Workers in such high noise environments typically also wear safety glasses. This paper outlines an integrated system with safety glasses, hearing protection, and communication elements, using vibration sensing technology and a neural network based voice transformation routine. Data was collected to train the neural network based voice transformation. Recordings were made under various representative noise conditions, with some well exceeding sound pressure levels of 93 dBA, and Signal to Noise Ratios were extracted. In addition, experiments were conducted according to a modified ITU P.835 approach to determine intelligibility, naturalness and overall quality. The results demonstrate that with this approach, speech can be clearly understood in such high noise environments with this approach.

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A comparison of standardized methods for sound attenuation test of hearing protectors
Time: 11:00 am

Author: sakae yokoyama

Abstract ID: 3002

In order to prevent hearing impairment due to occupational noise, it is essential to wear hearing protectors such as earplugs and earmuffs, especially in an extremely noisy environment. The method of measuring their sound attenuation is defined by international standards such as ISO and IEC, and standards such as ANSI, BS, AS/NZS, JIS et.. Although most standards recommend subjective methods where the thresholds of hearing shall be measured once with open ears and once with the hearing protector in place for each subject, measurement and evaluation methods are not unified internationally. In Japan, in April 2020, the old product standard was abolished in consideration of international consistency, and a new method standard was established with the ISO standard as the corresponding international standard for the first time in about 40 years. In this study, we compared the measurement methods and evaluation methods according to the standards for sound attenuation tests of hearing protectors.

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