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Flexshield Noise Control Solutions for the ADF

The Dangers and Risks of Noisy ADF Work Environments

How Flexshield provides noise control for the Australian Defence Force...

How Flexshield provides noise control for the Australian Defence Force

If you’re working in or managing employees in a noise-driven environment for the Australian Defence Force, you need to be aware of the common problems that can arise from excessive and loud noise.

This article identifies the serious health issues that can occur without sufficient noise control, then discloses what you and Flexshield can do together to minimise the impacts of noise.


Hearing loss

In noisy environments, loud noises can damage the delicate hair cells in the cochlea and inner ear that need to pass auditory indicators to the brain. Once these hair cells are damaged or destroyed, there is no medical way to restore them.

This damage is what causes hearing loss.


Tinnitus is an ear condition that causes ringing, buzzing, whistling or similar noise in the ear.

It can occur in one ear or both ears and is often the result of excessive and constant noise.

High blood pressure

Contact with loud or ongoing noise can also lead to high blood pressure (hypertension) and an increased resting heart rate in some workers.

This change in bodily function is due to the standard neurological and hormonal responses to loud sounds.

Other problems

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
    Vertigo due to ear/hearing damage
    Digestive issues such as stomach ulcers
    Increased risk of everyday infections (e.g. the common cold)
    Stress and frustration

Increased workplace risks

Noise-filled settings in the workplace can also mean an increased risk of accidents since noise will often “cancel out” any sounds that could warn workers of an impending or current emergency.


How you can protect ADF workers from noise

To protect individuals in a noisy Australian Defence Force workplace, implement one or more of the following:

  • Provide workers with hearing protectors, such as earplugs and earmuffs
  • Noise or soundproof the working environment using doors, barriers, dividers, acoustic enclosures or devices, baffles and panels; or keep machinery quiet by enclosing it in an acoustic enclosure
  • Conduct regular and official noise audits and risk assessments to determine which noises (if any) are too loud
  • Upgrade noisy machinery to improve noise concerns, or install noise-reducing components like welds or rubber bumpers
  • Educate workers about the damage and effects excessive noise can have, and encourage them to protect themselves accordingly
  • Implement an audiometric testing program with regular (annual) hearing tests for workers


Noise control and screening solutions for protecting ADF workers

Flexshield has supplied a variety of noise control and screening solutions to the Australian Department of Defence, including:


Acoustic doors not only provide security to protect military hardware and equipment, they also provide an excellent noise control solution. Flexshield acoustic doors provide up to Rw52 acoustic ratings and are tailor-made for each ADF site and application.

Acoustic louvres are most commonly used around the mechanical plant, or incorporated into plant room walls as a vent to improve airflow while reducing the amount of noise from the penetration. Acoustic louvres are particularly useful when working in an environment that creates large amounts of fumes, such as welding or grinding, or where heat is generated and natural airflow is required.

Welding bays are a necessity for the Australian Defence Force. An adequately set up acoustic welding bay allows for safer maintenance – whether onboard naval vessels or at land-based maintenance workshops, as well as providing modular welding booths at various defence training academies such as HMAS Cerberus. Flexshield welding bays are constructed from modular acoustic panels and WeldflexTM strip curtains. Both products are non-combustible and protect both the welder and bystander from injury. Flexshield bays are custom made and can be either fixed or mobile, creating greater flexibility for the facility.

Sonic Clear curtains have a variety of uses for the defence industry, such as for splash control, wash bays, control rooms and workshop dividers. Sonic Clear curtains reduce the amount of airborne dust, control air temperature and other environmental factors, to protect delicate equipment. They have been custom made to create wash down bays for Hawkei vehicles and other military assets and equipment across Australia – our custom wash bay for Liebherr is easily moved out of the way when not in use.

Acoustic enclosures use a combination of the above products, as well as some not listed in this article. They are designed and manufactured for each project. As their name suggests, this solution encloses the noise source, making it a popular solution for generators, pumps, motors, noisy saws or CNC machines, and HVAC equipment.

Talk to Flexshield for custom noise solutions for the defence industry

For more information about any of our defence projects or other Flexshield products, contact Flexshield on 1300 799 969 today.