Impact Noise

Last Updated: May 7, 2018

Definition - What does Impact Noise mean?

Impact noise is a sound that occurs as a brief interval. It is a sudden burst of high intensity sound, such as that which results from an explosion or a hammer strike. While similar, impulsive noise and impact noise are slightly different. Impact sounds are caused by the impact of two solids hitting one another. Impulsive sounds include noises that are not caused by the striking of solid objects against one another. Because of the variable nature of impact and impulsive sounds, monitoring of such noise in the workplace requires special attention. Impact noise may also be referred to as impact sound, impulsive noise, or impulsive sound.

WorkplaceTesting explains Impact Noise

Impact noise is present in a number of different workplace settings, but are particularly prevalent in construction and industrial environments. Because these sounds are often short-lived and can vary in intensity, they can be difficult to monitor. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that employers use sampling, or other methods, to measure and detect excessive impact and impulsive noise levels in the workplace. Impact or impulsive noises can be single events such as the sound of a firearm being fired or occur in rapid succession. For instance, the sound of a jack hammer in operation is a repeating impulsive noise.

Noise such as that caused by a jack hammer is both an impulsive and impact sound as defined by acoustical standards. However, for the purpose of OSHA regulations, only single event sounds are defined as impulsive or impact sounds. This designation distinguishes single event sounds that require different monitoring methods from continuous impact or impulse sounds in the work place. According to OSHA, impulsive and impact noises are more damaging to hearing than similar continuous noises.

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