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	worker wearing hearing protection

NIOSH recommends that all worker exposures to noise should be controlled below a level equivalent to 85 dBA for eight hours to minimize occupational noise induced hearing loss. NIOSH also recommends a 3 dBA exchange rate so that every increase by 3 dBA doubles the amount of the noise and halves the recommended amount of exposure time.

Facts and Statistics

  • Four million workers go to work each day in damaging noise. Ten million people in the U.S. have a noise-related hearing loss. Twenty-two million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise each year.
  • In 2007, approximately 23,000 cases were reported of occupational hearing loss that was great enough to cause hearing impairment.
    Reported cases of hearing loss accounted for 14% of occupational illness in 2007.
  • In 2007, approximately 82% of the cases involving oc¬¨cupational hearing loss were reported among workers in the manufacturing sector.

Fact Sheets

Occupationally-Induced Hearing Loss
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2010-136
Statistics on hearing loss in the manufacturing industry.


National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)
A program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States.

Tables, Charts and Graphs

Chart depicting how a 25 year old carpenter who does not protect hearing has 50 year old ears

Chart depicting noise levels measured from typical tools used in construction

Chart depicting typical hearing losses from carpenters over time

Graphic: How to

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