Quiet in the Cab: Acoustics for Heavy Equipment

Operating heavy equipment is a dangerous job. Every year, thousands of people are injured or killed while operating heavy machinery, resulting in more than $11.5 billion in losses according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – including lost revenue and income, health care expenses, delays in production and more.

And, while this profession is recognized for its hazardous attributes, we do everything we can to protect heavy equipment operators from harm – from addressing the physical and mental demands of the job to the unpredictable nature of jobsites.

Most of these efforts are to make things safer outside of the cab – equipment training, wearable safety technology, improved communication techniques, signage, and so on.

However, we often don’t think about the effects unwanted noise, vibrations and heat have inside the cab.

What’s That Noise?

There is no doubt that heavy equipment like bulldozers, backhoes, cranes and dump trucks produce a lot of noise, and exposure to those deafening sounds can be lifechanging.

Repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels (dBA) can cause hearing loss, and as those sounds get louder, it takes less time for them to do damage.

Most heavy equipment produces sounds that are louder than 85 dBA, for example:

  • Bulldozer – 93-96 dBA
  • Crane – 90-96 dBA
  • Front End Loader – 86-94 dBA
  • Backhoe – 84-93 dBA

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) has both short- and long-term ramifications.

According to a 2018 study, nearly 60% of older construction workers now suffer from significant hearing loss. The study concluded the results “support a causal relationship between construction trades work and hearing loss,” and “prevention should focus on reducing exposure to noise.”

Preventing Hearing Loss with Heavy Equipment Acoustics

NIHL is entirely preventable, but most prevention focuses on noise cancelling headphones and other wearables. At Blachford Acoustics, we believe prevention begins in the cab itself.

We work with manufacturers to decrease cab noise with Acoustic Materials, like:

These solutions have been shown to significantly reduce cab noise, which helps keep heavy machinery operators prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. And we have the testing labs to prove it!

Ready to reduce noise in your cabs?