Top 10 Noisiest Jobs

Giant speakers, heavy construction equipment, the high whine of fast cars—working in noisy environments can put a major strain on your ears. In fact, 22 million U.S. workers across all industries are exposed to dangerous noise levels each year.

Based on the latest data, below is a countdown of the top 10 noisiest jobs that can be dangerous to your health. If you work in any of these fields, or others with high-decibel environments, use caution to protect your hearing.

#10 Train Operator

Decibel levels: 90 – 110

Operating a subway train involves exposure to various sources of noise, including the train’s engine, announcements, and especially the sound of the train moving along the tracks and through tunnels. While operators are typically in a somewhat insulated cabin, the cumulative exposure over a shift can still present a risk of hearing damage, making it important for subway train operators to consider hearing protection or noise-reducing measures within the cabin.

#9 Classical Musician

Decibel levels: 95

Classical music isn’t just gentle pastoral tunes—there are crescendos and percussive booms and dramatically loud sets. Being surrounded by other musicians, chair to chair, while practicing for hours in addition to performances without ear protection can lead to hearing damage. Can ear protection be worn and typically musicians wear what are known as in-ear monitors.

#8 Helicopter Pilot

Decibel levels: 100

The good news is, this is one job where hearing protection is universally worn. The excessive noise of a helicopter engine and blades is overwhelming and unsafe without proper protection.

#7 Lawn Mower Operator

Decibel levels: 105

Since lawn mowers are common consumer products, they don’t seem as dangerous as a motorcycle or helicopter, but they’re actually significantly louder. Hearing damage can start after just four minutes, which means both professionals and homeowners should consistently wear hearing protection.

#6 Rock Musicians

Decibel levels: 110

Musicians are in the center of blazingly loud club and concert venues with sound systems set to vibrate the floors. Rehearsals, fans, and then hours of stage performance time has left many rockers with permanent hearing damage. Again, musicians typically wear in-ear monitors to protect their hearing while being able to hear the rest of their bandmates.

#5 Nightclub Staff

Decibel levels: 110 – 120

A dance club with a pounding beat and constant music is a high-hazard environment for ears, especially for staff members who’re constantly on the floor and need to listen for drink orders or to hear security information over an earpiece.

#4 Construction Workers

Decibel levels: 120 – 130

Almost every verb that describes construction activity is a noisy one: drill, hammer, knock, saw. There’s usually a mix of hand tools, power tools, and big machinery—not to mention traffic and other workers. Ear protection is usually worn, but not when communication is essential.

Soundproofing and Acoustics for Every Application. Browse our Collection!

#3 Race Car Drivers

Decibel levels: 135

Another way to identify noisy jobs may be “jobs that toddlers like to make sounds for.” Yet the “vroom vroom” that children yell when playing with race cars is nothing compared to the roar and buzz of the actual track. The pit crew and stadium workers are also subjected to racing and crowd sounds, but being in the driver’s seat puts you right next to your engine plus those of your competitors.

#2 Airport Ground Staff

Decibel levels: 125 – 140

A race car engine can’t overtake the scream of a jet engine. Ground crew jobs require heavy-duty ear protection to stand anywhere near a plane at its most gentle idling.

#1 Shooting Range Staff

Decibel levels: 140 – 165

Shooting ranges, especially indoor ones, are one of the last places your ears should hang out raw. Making a single shot without protection has the potential for long-term hearing damage. While shooting ranges typically require ear protection, going without it outside of the direct firing range can still put you in a noisy environment.

Tips for Protecting Hearing in Noisy Occupations

There are practical steps you can take to minimize the risk of hearing damage in a noisy workplace. In fact, permanent hearing loss related to loud noise exposure can almost always be prevented with adequate preparation and care. Employers should: 

  • Incorporate Sound Level Control in Design

When planning new builds or remodeling existing spaces, it’s crucial to include sound level control as a design component. Utilizing materials such as acoustic panels and wood ceiling panels can greatly reduce the transmission of sound. 

  • Retrofit Current Spaces with Sound Blocking and Dampening Materials

For existing spaces, retrofitting with sound absorption, proofing, and sound damping materials can make a significant difference. Installing noise barrier walls, partition walls, and acoustic doors according to the room size can effectively isolate and minimize sound transmission between different areas of a workplace. 

  • Create and Follow a Hearing Conservation Program

Developing a comprehensive hearing conservation program is essential for any occupation that deals with excessive levels of noise. This program should include regular hearing assessments, education on the importance of hearing protection, and the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as earplugs or earmuffs. Additionally, integrating the use of materials designed to reduce noise exposure, like sound absorbing panels and wood ceiling panels, into the program can further enhance hearing protection efforts.

Acoustical Surfaces Can Help Protect Your Employees

In addition to being a health hazard for employees, excess noise can turn into a liability hazard for business owners. Include noise level control as part of a workplace safety plan that includes environmental modifications and appropriate use of personal hearing protection equipment.

Acoustical Surfaces works with businesses to control the environmental noise within each unique environment. Whether it’s a concert venue, manufacturing plant, or office space, our experts can identify the tools and materials needed to absorb, block, and control background noise and vibration that can distract and damage the health of employees.

Contact us today to get started on sound control for your business.



  1. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Noise and Occupational Hearing Loss.
  2. Pocket-lint. The noisiest jobs in the world: Is one of them yours?
  3. Soundwave Hearing Care. The Top 10 Noisiest Jobs.
  4. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Noise and Occupational Hearing Loss Overall Statistics – All U.S. Industries.
  5. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Preventing Occupational Noise-Induced Hearing Loss.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *