Wrong. Based on research found by us at Sensear, the average noise level around the server areas of a data center can be up to 92 dB(A), and within the server racks, noise levels can reach up to 96 dB(A). To put this into perspective, this is equivalent to listening to a motorcycle up close all day, for 48-52 hours a week (or more if there aren’t enough workers). How long and how loud can someone listen to sound without risking hearing damage? OSHA and NIOSH break this down in Figure 1 below.
So, given that OSHA’s noise threshold for required hearing protection is 85 dB(A) for over an 8-hour time period, the noise levels in a data center are within the confines of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss.
Now, because systems within data centers vary from large to small, noise levels will also vary. As the systems become more concentrated/dense as additional servers are added, more sophisticated equipment is required to cool down the system. The addition of fans, power supplies, and other equipment simply adds to the noise levels. Constant exposure to all this noise is concerning and can lead to potential hearing loss down the road.
What About Communication?
So, you provide hearing protection for your data center employees, but how can they communicate now? If an employee needs to troubleshoot an issue within the data center that requires over-the-phone vendor assistance, they run into an issue. Removing their hearing protection is dangerous and the person on the other line may have a hard time trying to hear the data center employee due to the external noise. How do you solve this issue?
Many data center employees will simply walk to a quiet area to take cell phone calls so that both parties can hear one another, however, this can become a productivity issue if the employee endlessly needs to run back inside to complete the task and then run back outside to continue the phone call. Instead of doing this, data center employees will see an improvement in productivity if they could use a headset that not only protects their hearing but can also connect to their cell phone or laptop via Bluetooth® for phone calls and/or Teams/Zoom meetings (while also filtering outside noise so the person on the other end can hear as well) or two-way radios for face-to-face communication within and around the data center.
Sensear’s smart headsets and earplugs use our patented SENS® Technology to lower harmful noises while isolating and enhancing speech for clear and effective communication in high-noise environments like data centers. With Bluetooth®, users can pair their headset to their smartphone, tablet, computer, or two-way radio, connect to colleagues on Microsoft Teams or Zoom, stream music at work, or answer phone calls. With a two-way radio connection, users can communicate clearly and effectively in high-noise environments, without having to remove their headsets or raise their voices. Furthermore, users can communicate headset-to-headset using SENS® without the need for a wireless/wired connection.
We all know that communication is critical and hearing loss is cumulative if not prevented. Investing in effective communication solutions with hearing protection is crucial to the well-being of data centers’ most important assets – the employees.
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