Snoring Volume Can Exceed OSHA Safety Limits

If you were on the clock with a snorer, you might be cited for a safety violation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Then you might finally be able to use the law to force some changes, but since you’re at home, it’s your responsibility to protect your ears (as well as your sanity) by asking a snorer to get treatment.

The Loudest and Average Snorers

Ear Damage due to SnoringSome snorers are louder than others. A number of studies have attempted to gauge the average volume of snoring, and it seems to be around 50 decibels (dB). The good news is that this snoring volume is unlikely to damage your ears. The bad news is it can be very hard to sleep through.

However, some snorers are much louder than others. The loudest recorded snorer tops out at a whopping 111 dB. According to OSHA regulations, just a half hour of exposure to this volume could lead to ear damage, and requires ear protection. Even a significantly lower volume–90 dB, a common loud snorer–requires ear protection if you’re going to be exposed for 8 hours–a full night’s sleep for your snoring partner.

Ear Protection Won’t Work as Well as You Think

So, what if you want to follow OSHA guidelines and wear ear protection? It’s important to understand that earplugs and other sound blocking devices don’t do as much for sound as you might think.

Ear protection intended for the workplace is given a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR), in decibels. It would make sense that this represents how many decibels it takes from the noise exposure. For example, wearing 25 dB earplugs should reduce a damaging 90 dB snore to a disruptive but safe 65 dB. But that’s not the case. Instead, the actual noise reduction from ear protection can be found by subtracting 7 from the NRR and dividing by two. In other words, the actual reduction from 25 dB earplugs is (25-7)/2=9. Just 9 dB reduction–less than 20% of the average snorer, and only 10% of the volume of the common loud snorer.

And if you combine two different types of ear protection, you only add 5 to the actual noise reduction of the better protection.

How to Protect Your Ears

OSHA may not be on the prowl for people sleeping without safety equipment, but your ears and your body likely experience the effects of very loud snoring. And you’re not the only one in danger–a loud snorer is more likely to have sleep apnea.

If you really want to protect your ears, you need to find a way to stop the snoring. Fortunately, that can be done. To learn about snoring treatment options in San Diego, please call (619) 299-5925 for an appointment at Strober Dental today.