Area Noise Level Measurement

Last Updated: October 22, 2018

Definition - What does Area Noise Level Measurement mean?

An area noise level measurement is used to monitor the exposure of workers to sound in the workplace. In particular, noise level measurements assess the level of unwanted sound, or noise in a specified area. Area noise level measurements are used to evaluate hazards in the workplace. This information can then be used to develop an employer's hearing conservation program. These measurements allow an employer to assess the continuous noise level that an employee working in a particular location will be exposed to during a regular 8-hour shift. A sound level meter is the device most often used to take area noise level measurements.

WorkplaceTesting explains Area Noise Level Measurement

An employer may collect area noise measurements as part of an ongoing hearing conservation program or as required by federal or state safety standards. The information collected using these measurements assists employers by alerting them to hazards, thus allowing them to take the necessary actions to protect worker hearing in loud work zones.

As the name implies, area noise level measurements are location specific. Thus, these measures only report the sound levels at a particular location in the workplace. An area noise level measure will not reveal the total noise exposure a worker is subject to during the workday unless the worker's entire shift takes place in the monitored location. Additionally, an area noise level measure does not accurately report variable noise levels. Area noise level measurements are most useful for determining sound exposure in locations where sound levels are continuous. For workers who change locations during their workday, personal exposure level measurements are also used to assess noise exposure levels.

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