"Over 400 measurements were taken across Canada to assess the noise exposure of truck operators. The exposure of the driver was evaluated using both 3-dB (Leq) and 5-dB (L5dB) exchange rates. Driving with windows closed and radio not operating resulted in the lowest exposure. The drivers' Leq ranged from 78 to 89 dBA, with a mean of 82.7 dBA; operating the radio increased the mean by 2.8 dB; driving with the driver's side window open increased the mean exposure by 1.3 dB; and driving with the window open and operating the radio resulted in an increase of 3.9 dB. Trucks with cabs mounted over the engine appear to be quieter than standard trucks by about 2.6 dB. Operations on four-lane highways are 1.6 dB noisier than on two-lane highways, most likely as a result of higher speeds on the former. Long haul (city-to-city) operations on hilly terrain appear to be quieter than on flat terrain by about 2.2 dB, again probably indicating the strong effect of speed. Regression analysis was used to obtain relationships between a number of variables such as Leq and L5dB, etc. These measurements indicate that the exposure of a driver is almost certain to exceed the current threshold limit value for noise (85 dBA for 8 hours with a 3-dB exchange rate) when driving with the radio on and the driver's side window open. Comparable numbers in terms of L5dB are also reported."
Occupational Noise Exposure
"In 1981, OSHA implemented new requirements to protect all workers in general industry (e.g. the manufacturing and the service sectors) for employers to implement a Hearing Conservation Program where workers are exposed to a time weighted average noise level of 85 dBA or higher over an 8 hour work shift. Hearing Conservation Programs require employers to measure noise levels, provide free annual hearing exams and free hearing protection, provide training, and conduct evaluations of the adequacy of the hearing protectors in use unless changes to tools, equipment and schedules are made so that they are less noisy and worker exposure to noise is less than the 85 dBA."
I was just looking into this, and it seems to be on the margin for trucking. It's your choice to have the window open and radio on, and also to wear PPE for noise reduction in a truck. I think other laws banning the use of headphones while driving only apply to those which transmit sound recordings, not those that reduce environmental noise. Today I tried out some hard hat mounted ear muffs with a 23 decibel noise reduction rating (suitable for up to 98 dB environmental noise), and they lowered the sound of surrounding vehicles to about the same level as having the windows up, as far as I could tell (in-ear types can be more protective, and compact, obviously, though the ear muffs can be flipped out, away from the ears, if necessary). I also hit my head occasionally while inspecting tires and such under the trailer so I figure a hard hat is useful too (found a vented one for the benefits of having the windows down). Other soruces I've checked say trucks can be as loud as 90-100 db, so it depends. At least around 85 according to the average measured there.
Well, I'll print this info out and keep it with me, in case the authorities question my choice of PPE. One place I worked at said it was against their "dress code", even though they insisted on loading cargo in such a way that heavy boxes fell on my head, and the person who lectured me on this was wearing stretch slacks with a wedgie, but I no longer work for the fashion police. Speaking of which, trucking literally falls between the cracks on who gets to wear the pants in this family. I guess either one as a fashion statement is equally a challenge to pretend not to notice, except the other is considered harassment... I don't know, somehow I felt violated though.
Occupational noise exposure of operators of heavy trucks
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Even so, I think driving with ear plugs would throw me off. Not being able to hear the truck just seems eerie to me.
You can still hear with noise reducing ear protection, it just isn't too loud. It's like turning down the volume on a blasting radio (and I could hear every key of a piano with them on). At least if you're not using the most powerful one's available...
Supposedly such elevated noise for extended periods can also affect health in general:
Vulnerability of bus and truck drivers affected from vehicle engine noise
"Comparative results revealed that noise levels inside the cabin of buses and trucks were in the range of 88.6–102.4 dB and 87.95–103.4 dB, respectively... The average noise level inside the cabin of truck is higher than bus... The pulse rate of truck driver was significantly related with noise level inside the cabin of truck... This study clearly suggests that vehicle engine noise adversely affects the cardiovascular health of both bus and truck drivers... The results also revealed that 65% of bus drivers intensely suffer from digestion problem while it is 76% for the truck drivers. The study strongly recommends that vehicle engines should be noise proof and internal decorating of the bus and truck cabin should be engineered in such a way so that vehicle cabin would be absolutely noise free."
Then there's a Noise induced hearing loss risk assessment in truck drivers
"Finally it was deduced that the occupational conditions of truck drivers may have bilateral, symmetrical harmful effect on hearing threshold sense in all frequencies mainly in frequency of 4000 Hz, so health surveillance programs such as education and periodic medical examinations are emphasized for pre-diagnosing and prevention of any possible impairment and an urgent need to take up some interventions such as better maintenance of roads, automobile industry efforts to reduce the noise level emission of vehicles and reducing number of working hours per day of drivers are highlighted to improve the harmful working conditions of truck drivers."
To me an obvious and simple way of improving the situation would be with the use of PPE, given that the noise levels, along with their causes and effects can vary widely enough for this not to be mandated, like in other industries, while being just as harmful under similar conditions (as noted to whatever extent in the studies).
It could be worse, of course. Noise can be a difficult thing to attribute to a problem until it's too late, one perplexing story about a group of young people going into the mountains and later found frozen to death was ultimately determined years later to have been caused by a wind sound so distrubing to them that they ran from their tents under dressed in the dark, and couldn't find their way back... well there are other theories on that, but it seems nobody is arguing that occupational noise in trucking is non problematic. Or hopefully I don't have to convince anyone that it makes perfect sense to wear this stuff, talk about disturbing...Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
clausland Thanks this.
Hey ole buddy, Bonjour, still turnin wrenches for Normandin?....
I hear what you're saying as the older I get, the less I can hear.....Although the wife claims I only suffer from selective hearing, but I'll digress.....
I blame the hearing loss not so much on truck engines, but life-long unprotected exposure to all types of machinery in general, like farm equipment, hay bines, baler's, combines, etc...Add in chainsaws, tractors, gunfire, helicopters, factory machinery, etc, etc, and yeah you'll have problems down the road....Of course, as a young pup, I never considered such things because I figured I'd be gone by 35 anyhow....I noticed that after 50 things started going way south anyhow, cataracts start, night vision decreases, blood pressure, cholesterol, sugar, all go up....Well you get the picture....Basically, like all machinery, our parts start wearing out too....A quick test to tell if you're starting to have hearing problems (besides your wife telling you) is to cup your hand around the outside of your ear....If you find that you can hear so much better by doing so, you may have already suffered irreparable damage....
So, I think you're on the right track advising about the damage to long time noise exposure....I'm still trying to get a grasp on your lug-nut torque wrench combo setup.....Another hazard is all types of generated dust....I don't know how much crap I've inhaled over the years, but I've noticed that my breathing is not what it used to be either.....Heck, back in the day, I was one of many that used to haul product out of Johns Manville Corp (asbestos) in Jersey.....Anyway, Bonne journee Camionneur...
Noise exposure? Closed windows? Hah. Idle laws make sure those windows are open.
Im hearing impaired, it's harder to prove I can hear within DOT limits unless I have a current audiologist chart to go with it from that week or recent weeks. Having this problem meant that noise is not a problem all my years listening to a howling reefer while trying to sleep.
Im amused by the idea everyone will be walking around wearing noise reduction muffs. EH? What? What's that? oh... Just regulate robot trucks and ergo, no humans no noise problem eh?
I've always thought trucks were kind of loud LOL and probably bad for your hearing. I even said to another member on this forum that I don't really like driving with the windows down, because I think it's to loud and bad for hearing. He said "You know I've thought the same thing."
Noise is a form of pollution. Windows up is the best way.
Most Industry types do not care about pollution too much, if it is noise, grow a pair or get out. Ya know? We are entrenched in a form of human thinking that requires us to endure things that could be managed. But earmuffs is not for trucking unless you are next to a screaming crane on a flatdeck or something. I actually carry a pair of shooting muffs that cut the excessive for me noise down. The risk is that the muffs, plain as they are give me away as a shooter to others who own those kinds of things.
If you are going to shut the truck off, then at least have a second small motor on the frame capable of providing hotel heating and cooling services to the cab and sleeper, in addition to engine warming and battery feeding etc. As well as reefer support etc.Mike2633 Thanks this.
Yeah, I saw a trucker the other day going through a stoplight in the city with windows up and dark blue earmuffs on... or were they headphones?
It's hard to tell, there are different colors for different brands and noise reduction ratings, so I'm going to use ones that are safety colored to make it less questionable for those looking at me as I drive. Not that they are my favorite colors, but they'll look too much like something illegal otherwise (and we already know that if there's a kid walking around with the wrong color squirt gun, somone's likely to shoot first and ask questions later).Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
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