Every end of the year brings new charts of top occupations including the most needed ones, the best-paid ones, the most stressful ones and the most dangerous ones. However, when talking about dangers, there is very little mention of the small impactors which take their toll over a period of time. One of them is noise you are surrounded by, and most of the time find a nuisance rather than a hazard. The list below shows some of the most hazardous common jobs based on the industrial noise exposure. Learn how noise in the workplace can be dangerous.

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Airport ground staff

If you worry about the noise level produced by the traffic on your street, try imagining what it would be like having air traffic in front of your window.  Sometimes planes flying low above your head can be really disturbing. Airport ground crew has this happening to them as a part of their daily routine. The noise they are exposed to ranges from 120dB to 150dB. Industrial noise is defined as noise louder than 85dB and exposure period of about 8 hours is enough to cause permanent hearing damage. This means that the loss of hearing for these workers is inevitable. However, they rely heavily on hearing protection devices which can cancel a certain amount of the noise. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the future where they will have devices available which can make their occupation as safe as any other.

Military service

Various researches and reports have shown that apart from war injuries and trauma military personnel suffers, they are also exposed to an unpredictable and high level of noise during their service. This happens both during standard training and military operations.  The noise can be caused by weapons, explosions, and equipment used, alike. While the shooting noise and explosions are usually not of long duration, noise from vehicles, ships, helicopters, and planes can have substantial exposure periods and have a significant impact.


This line of industry can be found on many lists. It is one of the biggest industries in most developed countries, with some of the most dangerous occupations and greatest continuous levels of noise. Pretty much any factory has machinery lined up and surrounded by the employees. The levels of noise are particularly high in metal fabrication plants or any other plants where steel work is present.

Construction work

If you do not like the noise coming from the local construction site during your afternoon nap, neither do the workers there. Construction work encompasses many different occupations. This means that it includes a vast range of machinery, electrical tools, and materials used. They include anything from earth-moving equipment to sandblasting. None of them are particularly quiet. Apart from the actual noise coming from the equipment, the impact of them all combined is even more worrying. The noise levels are usually anywhere between 80dB and 120dB, not including the impact noise which is at around 140dB


If you imagine yourself in a dark place surrounded by hammering, drilling, and explosions, you have imagined yourself inside of a mine. This is probably the usual auditory impression that even a modern-day mine could leave. Apart from having incredibly dangerous jobs due to the number of accidents and other health hazards, mining is also one of the noisiest things you can do. With some occupations such as this one, wearing hearing protection could prove to be beneficial, but it could also disrupt communication and awareness of the surroundings which can potentially cause serious consequences.


Similarly to several of the above-mentioned occupations, truck driving is dangerous in several different ways. One of them is the permanent damage to your hearing caused by the surrounding noise. Depending on the type of the vehicle and the equipment used, truck drivers are exposed to various levels of noise. Apart from the inside-of-the-truck noise, they also have the noise coming from the traffic around them, air friction, as well as loading and unloading of the truck.


Even though tradespeople may be subjected to lesser amounts of noise at one time than construction workers, they are still exposed to a similar type of noise for most of their working day. This may be on a smaller scale but they are also exposed to noise from a variety of power tools, impact noise, and equipment. These mostly include plumbers, electricians, boilermakers, carpenters, painters etc.

Motorcycle courier

Just like truck drivers, motorcycle couriers spend hours in traffic every day. Unlike the truck drivers, they have no luxury of having a modern truck cabin protecting them and acting as a buffer for some of the noise. They are fully exposed to everything that’s coming from underneath them and around them. Their only protection is the helmet and the noise under there can be at about 90dB. The effect such noise can have on a courier’s hearing depends on the exposure but only about 2 or hours are quite enough to set one on the track of permanent hearing loss.

A musician or a music industry worker

While these people may be living their dreams, think twice before envying them. This path includes a lot of sacrificing. Regardless of whether you are a star who gets all of the attention, or simply in charge of pyrotechnics or a backstage security guard there is no way of escaping the noise-polluted environment. Even as a visitor to a venue, you are exposed to a significant amount of noise. You know how your ears feel once you come home from a concrete. The noise level is typically anywhere between 90dB and 110dB, and most of the protection gear intervenes with the quality of the work they are performing. Some of the greatest people in the industry today such as musicians and producers Chris Martin, Will.I.am and Noel Gallagher have suffered tinnitus due to a prolonged noise exposure. As exciting as it may sound, it has its downs, as well as the ups.

The list, however, does not finish here. Some of the most likely overseen workers when it comes to the noise exposure are teachers and nursery workers. While the noise they are exposed to cannot be classified as industrial, they are daily surrounded by around 85dB coming from a collection of seemingly tiny voices. Some honorary mentions include commuters and the music they are playing, classical musicians, formula one drivers, call center workers etc. According to the workplace health and safety regulations, an employer has to find ways of dealing with any noise louder than 85dB. Even if you are not surrounded by machines, but you feel like your ears are suffering, it is worth speaking to the employer and taking action to protect your health.