Most people generally think of sound and noise as being the same thing. However, there is actually a big difference between noise vs sound. Sound is a type of energy that travels through the air, or any other medium, and is then heard when it reaches a person’s ear. Whereas noise can be described as an unwanted sound. It is intrusive and can be disruptive or potentially even dangerous.
What is the difference between sound and noise?
Sound is the outcome of vibrating air in the surroundings. Vibration moves through the air, creating different air pressure levels (high and low) by air compression and decompression. The varying pressure levels travel across the air known as sound waves, these are responsible for creating a sound.
Noise, on the other hand, is a type of sound. Usually, the sound levels are remarkably loud and intermittent. Take a scream as an example of noise, characterised by its unpleasantness and annoying nature.
There are two main types of noise: continuous and intermittent. Continuous noise is referred to as a constant sound, like the hum of a fan or the sound of traffic. Whereas intermittent noise is a sound that occurs sporadically, like a car horn or an explosion.
How do we measure sound?
Sound levels are measured in decibels (dB), one way to measure these levels is with a sound meter. This device has a microphone connected to an electronic circuit and display. It picks up the amount that air particles are being “pushed around,” which we perceive as sound. These pressures are then translated to electrical signals and displayed as the sound level in decibels (dB).
At Minetek we offer both sound power testing and sound intensity. Sound intensity testing provides operators with an in-depth understanding of machine noise behaviour. We analyse the flow of acoustic energy produced by a single source, such as a specific mining truck, excavator or machine. This enables us to capture the sound intensity measurement of the source without noisy operating conditions impacting our sound testing data.
What sound levels are considered safe?
Ensure that your employees’ hearing is not at risk with excessive sound levels at work. Sound levels below 85 dB are considered safe for workers to be exposed to this level of noise. If you are exposed to sound levels at 85 dB or more for prolonged periods of time, it can cause permanent damage to your hearing.
The louder the sound, the more quickly it can cause damage. For example, listening to a mining truck, loader or digger at 85 dB for 8 hours will cause permanent damage. In comparison, a mining machine operating at a 100 dB noise level can cause permanent damage in only 15 minutes.
Ensure that your employees’ hearing is not at risk with excessive sound levels at work. Sound levels below 85 dB are considered safe for workers to be exposed to this level of noise. If you are exposed to sound levels at 85 dB or more for prolonged periods of time, it can cause permanent damage to your hearing. The louder the sound, the more quickly it can cause damage. For example, listening to a mining truck, loader or digger at 85 dB for 8 hours will cause permanent damage. Whereas, a mining machine operating at a 100 dB noise level can cause permanent damage in only 15 minutes.
What are the health impacts of noise?
Noise can have a significant impact on our health, both physically and mentally. Excessive noise can induce severe cardiovascular symptoms of increased heart rate. It can also emphasise psychological effects such as anxiety, profound nervousness and lack of concentration. Some of the ways noise can affect humans include:
- causing increased stress
- increasing heart rate
- difficulty sleeping
- hearing loss
The most common health problem caused by noise is hearing loss. Exposure to loud noise can damage the delicate cells in our ears, resulting in Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). NIHL can be gradual and painless, making it difficult to notice at first. Over time, it can lead to a permanent loss of hearing.
Industrial noise pollution control
When it comes to industrial noise pollution control, Minetek has proven experience in the design & implementation of turn-key solutions which are proven to be effective in reducing noise in industrial settings. With over 150 years of combined project experience, our team has delivered over 2,800 solutions across more than 60 countries, enabling industrial operators to meet their noise control objectives.
Noise control allows for extended operating hours, increased productivity, significant reductions in lead times, and improved work environments. Minetek has the capabilities in acoustic design & engineering for health, defence, marine, emergency and mission-critical applications. With proven results in the power generation and standby power markets, our experience is unmatched. With full ISO:9001 accreditation and 150 years of project delivery experience, Minetek has the capability to meet any industrial sound or emission management objectives.
Speak to our team about your goals today and we will provide you with solutions that match your specific needs. Leave your details below to learn more