Community Noise

A study conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development indicates that the number one concern among city dwellers in the United States is noise. The agencies responsible for enforcing community noise laws are the public health department, code enforcement agencies, and the police or county sheriff departments.

Before considering whether instrumentation is needed, the agency must review the local ordinance. Most ordinances include sections that address measurement requirements and techniques as well as permissible noise-level tables. These sections usually indicate indirectly the minimum instruments required to sample noise sources.

The capability for multithreshold dose measurements is helpful. One threshold level is 90 dBA set by OSHA engineering regulations. A concern arises when an employee works in an environment which is always below 90 dBA but where the average sound level is in the high 80s. The dosimeter indicates this area as having no hazard (0% dosage) while the worker is within a few decibels of maximum allowable exposure (100% exposure). Having a second available threshold set at 80 dBA allows the analyst to detect marginal environments while assuring compliance with both the engineering regulation and the hearing conservation amendment. In addition, having these data available provides clues on how to attack noise problems through engineering efforts.

An analyst can determine the effect of using hearing protection devices in the workplace environment by sub

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