How "Loud" is White Water?

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DanH
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How "Loud" is White Water?

Post by DanH » Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:04 pm

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?

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John Kennedy
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Post by John Kennedy » Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:07 pm

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.
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Post by Poke » Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:15 pm

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.
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John Kennedy
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Post by John Kennedy » Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:19 pm

Nice line down the left there...
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Adrian Cooper
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Post by Adrian Cooper » Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:20 pm

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.

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Post by clarky999 » Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:20 pm

Looks like quite a nice little playhole there... if you're Chuck Norris!!

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cookie
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Post by cookie » Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:23 pm

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.
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Post by Ken » Tue Apr 08, 2008 1:54 pm

you can take the missus
This will mean you risk hearing damage without earplugs anyway! (ducks)

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Lou Clutton
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Post by Lou Clutton » Tue Apr 08, 2008 2:24 pm

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!).

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Post by mikeybaby » Tue Apr 08, 2008 2:25 pm

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

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Post by Digimeister » Tue Apr 08, 2008 2:26 pm

I've got a decibel meter on my desk... now if only I wasn't so far from any whitewater... :(
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Post by buck197 » Tue Apr 08, 2008 2:42 pm

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.
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james fleming
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Post by james fleming » Tue Apr 08, 2008 3:19 pm

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.

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peakfreak
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Post by peakfreak » Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:05 pm

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 ;-)


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james fleming
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Post by james fleming » Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:18 pm

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 ;-)


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Opps. Sorry. :-)

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Post by chriscw » Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:55 pm

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.
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Post by ChrisMac » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:26 pm

given that I always paddle with custom earplugs no river feature is that loud anyway.

ChrisMac

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:43 pm

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.... ;-)

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SwamP
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Post by SwamP » Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:51 pm

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...

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Post by Chunda » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:32 pm

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?

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adrian j pullin
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Post by adrian j pullin » Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:20 pm

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!
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Strad
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Post by Strad » Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:32 pm

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 :)
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adrian j pullin
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Post by adrian j pullin » Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:37 pm

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.
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Adrian J Pullin
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