Hockey and Canada go hand in hand. And with an abbreviated NHL hockey season about to start, many of you may be looking forward to attending some games. But working at or attending games of this national pastime could damage your hearing, says two new studies on noise at sporting events.
The researchers conducted an online survey of 321 US sports officials on their exposure to whistle noise and symptoms of hearing loss and tinnitus. The officials worked a variety of sports, including football, volleyball, wrestling, basketball, hockey, lacrosse and soccer. The researchers also assessed the acoustic characteristics of commercially available whistles.
The results: Male sports officials registered in Michigan had a greater prevalence of self-reported hearing trouble and tinnitus than observed in the general population of the US Midwest. Sound levels produced by whistles range between 104 and 116 dBA, which corresponds to maximum unprotected exposure times of 90 to 5 seconds, respectively. These findings suggest that whistle use may contribute to hearing loss among sports officials.
Another study, also published in JOEH, evaluated occupational and recreational noise exposures at two US sporting arenas hosting collegiate hockey games and semi-pro hockey games. Researchers took a total of 54 personal noise dosimetry samples over the course of seven hockey games.
The researchers found that none of the sampled workers were overexposed to noise based on OSHA criteria. But 40% and 57% of workers at each of the venues and 33% and 91% of fans were overexposed based on ACGIH noise exposure criteria. This data reflects the potential for overexposure to excessive noise at indoor hockey events for both workers and fans.
Hockey arenas are hardly the only workplaces with noise issues. If your workplace could expose workers to excessive noise, the OHS Insider can help you protect them with:
- A Noise Survey Form you can use to determine if you have a noise issue in your workplace
- Information on complying with hearing conservation program requirements
- A checklist to ensure your hearing conservation program has the necessary components
- An Annual Hearing Conservation Program Review Form to use when reviewing your program each year
- Spot the Safety Violation: Protection from Invisible Safety Hazards.
You can also buy a S.A.F.E. System on hearing protection, which includes:
- 3 posters
- A meeting outline
- Table tents
- Worker safety cards.
Fill out this form to request a free sample.
And at Safety Smart, you’ll find:
- A hearing conservation safety video
- Safety talks on ways workers can protect their hearing (in English and Spanish).
Not a Safety Smart member? Sign up for a free 14-day trial.