A Datacenter is not the typical work environments that health and safety professionals think about when it comes to hearing conservation. Dangerous noise levels are usually associated with heavy industrial environments such as those found in the Mining, Oil and Gas and Heavy Manufacturing Industries.
But many datacenters have similar noise-related challenges to those seen in other industrial environments. Noise in a datacenter is an ongoing issue due to the fact that computing platforms have become denser and now require large robust cooling fans. As a result ambient noise in these environments can reach dangerous levels.
Based on research Sensear has conducted the average noise level around the server areas of a datacenter can be up to 92dB(A) and within the server racks noise levels can reach up to 96dB(A). Given that OSHA’s noise threshold for mandatory hearing protection is being exposed to noise levels exceeding 85dB(A) for over an eight hour time period, the noise levels within a datacenter is in the “danger zone” for Noise Induced Hearing Loss.
Noise within a datacenter can be deceiving. It is a constant ‘whoosh’ noise created by the cooling fans and server equipment that goes unnoticed because it is ‘always there’. It is not until the power goes off or when there is a shut down that workers notice the impact this constant noise has on their working environment.
What you find is that workers are straining to go about their daily work functions to try and compensate for the noise or they are raising their voices to communicate above the noise. In many cases, workers leave their job at the end of the day with a greater level of fatigue as a result of the noisy data center environment.
Communication in datacenters is a constant challenge. It is a critical requirement to have clear communication between colleagues and customers both within the datacenter environment and outside. Without this noise affects productivity of workers.
Therefore, communication headsets for data centers need to have specific capabilities to deliver the full spectrum of benefits to the users. Traditional hearing protection or noise cancelling ear plugs tend to restrict the workers ability to communicate and in most cases do not have the industrial strength speech separation to deliver the optimal results in a noisy environment like a datacenter.
Some datacenters are turning to communication headsets embedded with high noise communication technology to solve their communication and productivity issues. These headsets are often equipped with noise cancelling bluetooth technology so that they can be paired with smart phones or tablets.
Workers can go about their business as if they were in a low noise environment and will no longer miss calls, due to noise, or need to go outside of the datacenter to talk to one another. The fatigue and stress bought about by working in noise is also greatly reduced.
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