Occupational Noise and Its Potential for Health Issues (2016)


This paper provides an overview of occupational noise, current standards and its potential for hearing loss.



Noise means any sound that is unwanted or damages health or hearing. Hearing loss sustained from noise exposure has a long recognised history and remains a key occupational exposure to this day. Because the risk of sustaining occupational noise induced hearing loss is foreseeable, exposure is limited under health and safety and mining legislation. This paper was compiled to give guidance on the assessment, evaluation and control of occupational exposure to noise with an emphasis on recommending a health‐based occupational exposure limit.

The AIOH supports the intent of the Safe Work Australia (SWA) Work Health and Safety legislation and the concept of managing occupational noise through higher order of controls “where reasonably practicable” before settling for lower order controls (e.g. personal hearing protectors). Where personal hearing protectors are used as a method of reducing a worker’s exposure to noise, the AIOH supports the use of a quantitative fit testing system, particularly for ear plugs, to ensure that the correct level of attenuation is provided to the worker and also as a means of training workers in correct fitting procedures.

The AIOH supports the risk assessment method of including workers who are exposed to more than 50% of the TWA exposure standard for a known ototoxic chemical (without regard to protection from a respirator if worn), irrespective of whether or not they are also exposed to noise, or where workers are exposed to ototoxic substances and noise with LAeq, 8h greater than 80 dB(A) or LC, peak greater than 135 dB(C), to include these workers in a hearing conservation program

Additional information


May 2016


AIOH Exposure Standards Committee