laws and regulations

Occupational hearing loss is a serious problem. That is why the European Union places hearing loss in the highest category (III) of occupational risks. Hearing loss is a chronic condition that has a great impact on your personal life. 

You can safely hear a sound at 80 decibels for up to eight hours a day (or 40 hours a week). But as soon as this increases, it quickly becomes dangerous. With every 3 decibels, the noise doubles and so does the impact. This means you can only hear 83 decibels for four hours a day (or 20 hours a week). Noise of 103 decibels can damage your hearing in less than five minutes. Therefore, hearing protection is necessary to reduce the impact and danger.


Decibels  Duration  Machine 
110 dB  immediate  stud gun, circular saw, electric hand drill  
100 dB  5 min  grinder, leaf blower, motorcycling (100 km/h) 
90 dB  1 hour  drum kit, cutting torch, bulldozer 
80 dB  8 hours  vacuum cleaner, city traffic 
70 dB  > 8 hours   blender, shaver, car, busy office 
60 dB   –  piano playing, conversation, washing machine 


Rights and obligations

  • Workplaces with high noise levels (from 85 decibels) must be clearly marked. Employees are required to wear hearing protection here. From 80 decibels, employees are entitled to free hearing protection. 
  • If the noise level exceeds 87 decibels, measures must be taken to reduce it.   
  • The RI&E pays attention to noise. It establishes the level and duration of noise and the health effects. The works council must be involved in this investigation and the measures. 
  • Information on harmful noise is mandatory. To prevent hearing damage, employees have the right to have a hearing test done by an expert. 

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Axel Sman Otoplastieken




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