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How "Loud" is White Water?

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:04 pm
by DanH
Does anybody know how loud white water is? I've got my health and safety brain on and am wondering whether the noise of a raging river is sufficient to damage our hearing, anybody done any sound assessments or know of anything?

Employers are governed by the Noise at Work Regulations 2005 and have to provide provision for us to protect our hearing whilst at work if the noise level is sufficient, but should we be doing something ourselves to protect our hearing at the weekends when we are on the river?

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:07 pm
by John Kennedy
I can't see it being a problem, but I doubt it's ever been tested. And it'd be fierce easy to measure, just with a sound level meter.

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:15 pm
by Poke
I'm no authority on the matter, but I think that you'd have to be sitting right next to something utterly monstrous for it to really become an issue.

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:19 pm
by John Kennedy
Nice line down the left there...

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:20 pm
by Adrian Cooper
If it's too loud, get out and have a look. If it's not loud enough it's called 'touring' and you can take the missus.

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:20 pm
by clarky999
Looks like quite a nice little playhole there... if you're Chuck Norris!!

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:23 pm
by cookie
And if its really quite it could be a weir or low head dam and is deadly. More dangerous to your health than a noise anyway.

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:54 pm
by Ken
you can take the missus
This will mean you risk hearing damage without earplugs anyway! (ducks)

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 2:24 pm
by Lou Clutton
It would only really become a problem if you were exposed to loud noise for a long time. The upper limit of exposure is about 85db which is not reccomended for more than 8 hours at a time although ipods etc can get to about 115db which is seriously bad for you!

With Noise induced hearing loss you need to be exposed for a long time. This is because it is essentially caused by the entire middle ear working too vigorously and causing the fluid in the cochlea to damage the very sensitive cilia which create the electrical signal to go to the auditory nerve which then goes to your brain. This won't happen if you're exposed for a short period of time only if you are constantly hearing that amount of noise.

Would be interesting to find out how loud certain river features actually are. Possible dissertation material here...(yes I'm really struggling to find a disser subject!).

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 2:25 pm
by mikeybaby
rule of thumb at work for health and safety people, if you have to raise your voice to be heard its wear ear protection if you want to zone. If you have to shout its a forced to wear ear protection zone

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 2:26 pm
by Digimeister
I've got a decibel meter on my desk... now if only I wasn't so far from any whitewater... :(

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 2:42 pm
by buck197
If we are viewing WW from a H & S perspective, then we wouldn't get on the water at all as the greatest danger is not from noise.

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 3:19 pm
by james fleming
The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 outline three action values, which are;
Lower exposure action value of 80dB; upper exposure action value of 85 dB and an exposure limit of 87 dB.
If noise is a problem, as mentioned, an example would be, if two people cannot have a conversation when about 2meters apart then nose is a problem.
Depending on how much noise you are exposed to and for how long will determine what actions need to be put in place to protect you from noise.

When measuring the noise, accurately, you need to make sure you are trained and have the proper calibrated equipment.

It would be fair to say the some rapids would be noisy, probably hitting higher than 85dB or higher. More so when you’re caught up in the gnar and you’re head is in the big recirculating hole.

At this point you’ll appreciate that noise, is probably the least of your worries, and you’ll want a change of underwear and a big F***ing B-Aid and a mate with a rope to pull you out.

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:05 pm
by peakfreak
james fleming wrote: if two people cannot have a conversation when about 2meters apart then nose is a problem.
I thought the subject here was noise not smell ;-)


I'll get my coat

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:18 pm
by james fleming
peakfreak wrote:
james fleming wrote: if two people cannot have a conversation when about 2meters apart then nose is a problem.
I thought the subject here was noise not smell ;-)


I'll get my coat
Opps. Sorry. :-)

Danger

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:55 pm
by chriscw
buck197 wrote:If we are viewing WW from a H & S perspective, then we wouldn't get on the water at all as the greatest danger is not from noise.
Of course not the greatest danger is on the drive home when we are tired... And listening to radio 4 at 95 dB to try and stay awake.

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:26 pm
by ChrisMac
given that I always paddle with custom earplugs no river feature is that loud anyway.

ChrisMac

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:43 pm
by Jim
It is amazing how loud background noise can be and I reckon I probably have come across 80db rapids but the issue is exposure time. There might be a problem if you were doing a multiday on a loud river and were camped beside 80db rapids all the time, but I think if it was that gnarly you would probably have greater concerns on the lifting and carrying front.... ;-)

Jim

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:51 pm
by SwamP
Don't know about going deaf but I cried myself to sleep listening to a waterfall one night knowing I'd have to paddle it the next day...the noise became more monsterous every second.

For me the noise is one of the main reasons I love this sport! Really gets the blood pumping ya know...

Flemboy (hehe) I've tried emailing my logo to your website address but it's bounced back.

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:32 pm
by Chunda
Will talk to or company safety officer about borrowing the companies noise meter this weekend and venture in to North Wales.

On the subject of safety in the work / play place what about HAVs (Hand Arm Vibrations) caused by tha pressure of white water on the paddle?

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:20 pm
by adrian j pullin
A number of people have commented on the length of time exposed to the noise. Whilst they are correct, there is an element of cumulative time as well. If you are exposed for relatively short time but every day, it can also have an effect.

There is also an aspect of selective deafness, where you stop hearing certain sounds because you are so accustomed to them.

Unfortunately, I don't get to paddle enough for any of this to be an issue!

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:32 pm
by Strad
adrian j pullin wrote:
There is also an aspect of selective deafness, where you stop hearing certain sounds because you are so accustomed to them.
so does that take us back to paddling with the wife :)

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:37 pm
by adrian j pullin
I couldn't possibly say!

I know that my kids are already deaf to the phrase "bed time" but can hear the biscuit tin at 100 paces.