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NIOSH Program Portfolio

 

Manufacturing

NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals

927ZJHL - Development of an Impulsive Noise Meter

Start Date: 10/1/2009
End Date: 9/30/2012

Principal Investigator (PI)
Name: Chucri Kardous
Phone: 513-533-8146
Organization: NIOSH
Sub-Unit: DART
Funded By: NIOSH

Primary Goal Addressed
4.0

Secondary Goal Addressed
None


Attributed to Manufacturing
50%

Project Description

Short Summary

Current sound measurement dosimeters and sound level meters are not capable of measuring impulsive sounds, nor are they equipped to characterize exposure to impulsive noise appropriately. The purpose of this project is to develop and introduce a new impulsive noise instrument to facilitate the measurement and characterization of impulsive noise and its effects on hearing of exposed workers.

The NIOSH Hearing Loss research program will benefit greatly from the ability to collect new impulsive noise data and the use such data to develop an occupational damage risk criterion, which does not exist today.

The major outcome of this project is the availability of this new noise instrument to safety and health professionals worldwide. The instrument will be used to improve and expand the collection of empirical data on impulsive noise exposures which in turn should facilitate the development of a universally agreed-upon damage risk criterion. A damage risk criterion for impulsive noise will allow NIOSH to update its criteria document on occupational noise exposure and provide recommendations for safe exposures. Expected outputs are the publications of technical documents and peer-reviewed journal articles.



Description

The successful execution of the project will result in a well-tested and validated new instrument and a measurement protocol for measuring and assessing exposures to impulsive noise. NIOSH researchers will work with ANSI, International Organizations for Standardization (ISO), and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards bodies to propose standardized impulsive noise measurement methods and instruments. The new instrument will help expand the collection of empirical data on impulsive noise effects on hearing. The development of a damage risk criterion or some form of NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) for impulsive noise is only possible if the means to measure and characterize exposures are available to the occupational and scientific communities.

The project will comprise three major phases, each lasting around approximately one year:

1) Introduce new instruments and methodology to measure impulsive sounds correctly. The principal researchers have developed a prototype instrument and are working with a sound measurement manufacturer through a CRADA agreement to introduce such an instrument into the occupational safety and hygiene marketplace.
2) Evaluate laboratory-collected data to validate the accuracy and relevancy of the new metrics to characterize occupational exposures.
3) Collect impulsive noise data from law enforcement, construction, military, and other affected occupational environments to validate the operational and intrinsic performance of the new instrument in the field.

The successful execution of these aims will result in a well-tested and validated new instrument and a measurement protocol for measuring and assessing exposures to impulsive noise. NIOSH researchers will work with ANSI, International Organizations for Standardization (ISO), and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards bodies to propose standardized impulsive noise measurement methods and instruments. The new instrument will help expand the collection of empirical data on impulsive noise effects on hearing. The development of a damage risk criterion or some form of NIOSH Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) for impulsive noise is only possible if the means to measure and characterize exposures are available to the occupational and scientific communities.



Mission Relevance

Impulsive noise is considered to be much more harmful to hearing than continuous or intermittent noises. In construction, most of the 500,000 workers who are exposed to hazardous noise levels are also exposed to impulsive noise sources on worksites.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates there are 1.1 million Federal, state, and local law enforcement officers in the United States that carry and train in the use of firearms. Although there are no exact figures, the military estimates there are more than 300,000 personnel in infantry, armor and artillery who are routinely exposed to potentially hazardous impulse noise. The problem of exposure to impulsive noise extends to other sectors such as mining (roof bolting) and manufacturing (stamping and hammer forging operations.

The NIOSH criteria document and OSHA regulations provide no guidance for assessing and measuring exposure to impulsive noise above 140 dBA. The National Academies Committee on Hearing, Bioacoustics, and Biomechanics (CHABA) acknowledged the inadequacy of its own criterion in that it fails to account for relevant impulse noise parameters such as impulse energy, spectral and temporal content, or the effect of hearing protection and the protective nonlinearities of the human ear. Safety and health professionals continue to rely on outdated and incomplete standards to assess the hazards of exposure to impulsive noise. Several Federal agencies, academic research centers, industry partners, and stakeholders have requested that NIOSH become more actively involved in determining the effects of exposure to impulsive noise and providing guidelines and recommendations for safe exposures. In addition, several sectors as well as the hearing loss cross-sector have identified the issue of impulse noise as part of their overall strategic goals that need to be addressed.

The main objective of this project is to develop and introduce a new impulsive noise instrument to facilitate the measurement and characterization of impulsive noise and its effects on hearing of exposed workers. The instrument will be used by researchers and safety and health professionals in academia, the military, government agencies, as well as industries that have issues with impulsive noise. The long term objective of developing an impulsive noise instrument is to improve and expand the collection of empirical data on impulsive noise exposures which in turn should facilitate the development of a universally agreed-upon damage risk criterion. A damage risk criterion for impulsive noise will allow NIOSH to update its criteria document on occupational noise exposure and provide recommendations for safe exposures.



Page last updated: June 3, 2011
Page last reviewed: May 23, 2011
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Office of the Director

 

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