Sound that may cause hearing damage or extra-aural effects with consequences for the health and safety of employees is referred to as noise. Extra-aural effects are effects not related to the ear.

In addition to physiological effects, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, the psychic effects of noise are very important. They can manifest in an increased error rate or in lowered concentration and attentiveness. This results in accidents, work-related health risks, reduces the output, and ultimately causes additional costs for companies.

Despite significant noise reduction efforts, noise still is one of the essential stress factors at workstations. The work of the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) specifically focuses on preventative measures reducing the noise already at its source. These include the development of design solutions for low-noise work equipment and systems.

Establishing European and international networks

Meanwhile, European and international networks have been established. The aim is to achieve lower noise emission of machines, improvement and simplification of measuring methods, and to develop procedures for determining the state of the art in the field of noise reduction.

On top of that, the further development of uniform concepts for handling the emission of machines regarding the specification of residual risks and the representation of the state of the art is coordinated – for example, through practical purchasing support for procurement officers, as well as by supporting market supervision.