sign indicating a high noise environment

Tips for Giving Effective Training in High-Noise Environments

What tools or applications can employers invest in to increase communication?

Working in a high-noise environment makes communication difficult because the only way to hear someone speak is by shouting—straining a speaker's voice. This results in miscommunication, and critical information is missed.

For effective training to be achieved, there should be minimal to zero noise pollution. This begs the question, is there anything people can do to communicate effectively in a high-noise environment like a factory or a construction site?

In truth, there are numerous ways to achieve effective communication during training, but some methods require additional effort for the ultimate results.

This article will cover factors that constitute a high-noise environment, the impact of noise on communication and learning and the tips and strategies for effective training and communication in high-noise settings.

Understanding High-Noise Environments

Environmental noise is a stressful and annoying pollutant. It is usually measured outdoors, near the façades of buildings like industrial facilities and other places such as transportation (airplanes and road traffic) and recreational activities.

High-noise environments have been intensely scrutinized for decades due to their adverse health issues. In the U.S., noise pollution is regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and the Noise Control Act of 1972. These two acts provide criteria that limit sound intensity and duration.

As you may know, health is a condition of physical and mental well-being, with the latter concerning the quality of life, but high noise usually affects people's quality of life.

In reality, the best way to prevent stress is to avoid noise or to reduce it as much as possible. To achieve this, people need to employ new technical solutions and technologies. This means utilizing devices and machinery that generate less noise, developing quieter roads and vehicles, using better manufacturing materials and implementing relevant legislation.

Also, society should be educated on the importance of changing individual and collective behavior to minimize adverse health effects because loud noise affects humans and has a range of negative impacts on animals on land and at sea.

The Impacts of Noise on Communication and Learning

Any barrier that prevents effective communication is noise. Noise may emanate from the sender or the receiver, causing difficulty in communication.

Communication noise stems from all manner of settings and contexts, like face-to-face meetings and organizational and group settings, significantly impacting how humans communicate.

Whether it's in an office, industrial workplace or while attending a conference or training session, noise prevents effective communication across channels. No one is thrilled by asking someone to repeat themselves on a topic due to a noisy environment.

Recent studies reveal that communication noise has cost some companies an amount ranging from $10,000 to $25,000.

Below are some examples of how noise impacts communication and learning.

Firstly, noise can impact an individual's ability to hear and understand intended messages. People lose focus and miss critical information and instructions during learning.

In worst-case scenarios, it can lead to negative social consequences for patients with hearing impairments. By extension, the inability to hear can also compromise individuals' safety and prevent learners from learning effectively and participating in social settings.

For the brain to effectively separate sounds, it takes cognitive power from the brain. Despite numerous theories on noise and learning, the human brain carries an extra load when there is too much noise.

Therefore, if noise exists in a learning environment, the brain must shift attention and separate the numerous sounds from determining what to focus on most. The brain achieves this by utilizing its cognitive power to suppress noise, and as a result, learning becomes more challenging.

Tips for Effective Training and Communication in High-Noise Environments

Below are three tips to successfully communicate in a high-noise environment during training.

Invest in high-noise headsets. Purchasing high-noise headsets is ideal if you tire of yelling and voice strain. These devices suit you and your employees, tour guides and visitors who come to enhance their learning.

To assess which headsets are more suitable for your needs, you should take into consideration noise reduction ratings.

The headphones and microphones within the headsets allow seamless communication, even if the noises are unbearable. Speakers need only speak normally for their messages to be understood.

These high-noise headsets come with one-way or two-way headsets. Selecting headsets that align with your goals is advisable. However, for more accessible communication among trainees and employees, it would be prudent to purchase two-way headsets.

Utilize applications. If purchasing a headset is expensive, the next viable alternative is using real-time communication applications. Fortunately, almost everyone owns a smartphone. Therefore, it makes sense to use them.

There are also numerous group messaging apps to choose from. Once you identify the app that suits your needs, ensure your employees install it on their smartphones. These messaging apps allow you to inform everyone in the organization via text messages.

Furthermore, real-time messaging apps can effectively help you communicate with foreign employees. As such, these apps come with translation features, making conveying messages in numerous languages easier and keeping all your employees in the loop.

Invest in PA systems. While PA systems are not the perfect choice for employees to communicate with each other, they are suitable for announcements. It would be prudent to make them loud enough because you are in a high-noise environment.

While your employees can also use the PA system to make announcements, there should be rules and guidelines specifying the reports that warrant a PA system. This will minimize employees' misusing the system.

Training Strategies for Specific High-Noise Environments

Everyone needs to be on the same page for effective communication and training. Due to this, all your employees must understand how to use gadgets and communicate in high-noise environments, regardless of whether they use apps or headsets.

If you want to rely on visual cues, you should develop a system that everyone understands. Visual cues allow communication no matter the noise intensity because people rely on signs.

You can also train your employees to communicate using code words and key phrases. To achieve this, implement a predetermined set of keyword phrases reduced to a few simple words. For instance, you can derive a specific set of predetermined keyword phrases based on your employees' most common daily operations.

That way, your employees will be able to understand the messages being communicated, eliminating the need for excessive explanations.

Bottom Line

The harmful effects that emanate from high-noise environments cannot be overemphasized. These effects continue to grow because people cannot suddenly stop driving, manufacturing products, constructing buildings and attending recreational activities.

Human activities generate all the noise in the world, and it is up to the human world to devise ways of minimizing the noise. While communication is a must in every organizational setting, the tips mentioned above can go a long way in ensuring that communication is conveyed effectively in high-noise environments because, with noise, sharing messages and instructions becomes difficult.

Industrial Hygiene Product Showcase

  • Halo™ Eye/Face Wash Provides Greatest Washdown

    Halo™ Eye/Face Wash Provides Greatest Washdown

    Bradley’s Halo™ eye and eye/face wash arms users with the most effective emergency relief available in the industry. Halo provides 20 percent better protection than any other model on the market. With a more uniform and complete spray pattern distribution, and exclusive features that increase hygiene, users attain the greatest contaminant relief and protection available. Using the latest technology in fluid dynamics, Halo works in tandem with a pressure regulated flow control and the spinning motion of water, which creates an optimal spray pattern to rinse off contaminants quickly and thoroughly, ensuring the most effective flush available. 3

  • Moldex Airwave Disposable Respirators

    Moldex Airwave Disposable Respirators

    Say hello to the N95 mask that is so comfortable and easy breathing, it can positively impact worker productivity and happiness on the job. The AirWave’s proprietary pleated design makes breathing easier and comes in multiple sizes with an adjustable strap for a customizable fit. Airwaves also have an ultra-tough Dura-Mesh® shell that resists collapse even in the hottest and most humid conditions. They have a metal-free molded nose bridge that seals easily without a metal noseband for added protection and comfort. It’s official: AirWave is a difference you can feel. 3

  • Donaldson iCue™ Connected Filtration Monitoring

    Donaldson iCue™ Connected Filtration Monitoring

    Donaldson's iCue™ Connected Filtration Monitoring technology is designed to remotely monitor a facility’s dust, fume, and mist collection equipment and provide operational insights. When connected to your facility’s dust collection system, the iCue service, can track three sets of operational data relevant to EHS professionals including differential pressure (dP), particulate trend monitoring, and relative airflow. The iCue connected filtration service monitors all three conditions and provides real-time data for accurate compliance reporting. 3