The ear is a very delicate part of the body and some of the damage that noise can cause is often nonrecoverable. The latest figures from HSE show that during 2006/7 280 instances of work related hearing loss were diagnosed. However, as hearing loss is cumulative over a period of years, many individuals will not realise that their hearing is being affected.
To try and reduce the problems from work related hearing loss, the European Physical Agents (Noise) Directive 2003/10/EC came into force in 2006. In simple terms, the Directive requires that noise has to be eliminated and that if this is not possible hearing protection should be available at 80dB, and must be worn at 85dB.