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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(7), 677; doi:10.3390/ijerph13070677

Noise Exposure of Teachers in Nursery Schools—Evaluation of Measures for Noise Reduction When Dropping DUPLO Toy Bricks into Storage Cases by Sound Analyses

1
Institute of Occupational Medicine, Social Medicine and Environmental Medicine, Goethe-University of Frankfurt, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, 60590 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Goethe-University of Frankfurt, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, 60590 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Andrew Watterson
Received: 31 March 2016 / Revised: 15 June 2016 / Accepted: 27 June 2016 / Published: 4 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
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Abstract

Background: Although noise is one of the leading work-related health risk factors for teachers, many nursery schools lack sufficient noise reduction measures. Methods: This intervention study evaluated the noise exposure of nursery school teachers when dropping DUPLO toy bricks into storage cases. Sound analyses of the impact included assessment of the maximum sound pressure level (LAFmax) as well as frequency analyses with 1/3 octave band filter. For the purpose of standardization, a customized gadget was developed. Recordings were performed in 11 cases of different materials and designs to assess the impact on sound level reduction. Thereby, the acoustic effects of three damping materials (foam rubber, carpet, and PU-foam) were investigated. Results: The lowest LAFmax was measured in cases consisting of “metal grid” (90.71 dB) or of a woven willow “basket” (91.61 dB), whereas a case of “aluminium” (103.34 dB) generated the highest impact LAFmax. The frequency analyses determined especially low LAFmax in the frequency bands between 80 and 2500 Hz in cases designs “metal grid” and “basket”. The insertion of PU-foam achieved the most significant attenuation of LAFmax (−13.88 dB) and, in the frequency analyses, the best sound damping. Conclusion: The dropping of DUPLO bricks in cases contributes to the high noise level in nursery schools, but measured LAFmax show no evidence for the danger of acute hearing loss. However, continuous exposure may lead to functional impairment of the hair cells and trigger stress reactions. We recommend noise reduction by utilizing cases of woven “basket” with an insert of PU-foam. View Full-Text
Keywords: nursery schools; noise intervention measures; sound analyses; occupational health nursery schools; noise intervention measures; sound analyses; occupational health
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Gebauer, K.; Scharf, T.; Baumann, U.; Groneberg, D.A.; Bundschuh, M. Noise Exposure of Teachers in Nursery Schools—Evaluation of Measures for Noise Reduction When Dropping DUPLO Toy Bricks into Storage Cases by Sound Analyses. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 677.

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