Tertiary sector affected by noise in the working place

Half of all working persons are affected by too-high sound levels in their working environment (very frequently: 17%, often: 14%, occasionally: 20%). This concerns not only the industrial, construction and agricultural sectors (68% - 70%) but also the commercial, administrative and service sectors (53% - 60 %). Within the framework of occupational health, only 43% of working persons have undergone audition tests, and the tertiary sector lags far behind in this area (source: JNA-MALAKOFF-MEDERIC-IPSOS survey).

Audition danger thresholds

Hearing is considered to be in danger over a level of 80 decibels, or dBA, during an eight-hour working day. If the noise level is above this, exposure time should be decreased. If the level is extremely high (above 130 dBA, all exposure, even for a very short time, is dangerous.

  • Below 80 dBA: prolonged exposure to noise can lead to fatigue, stress, anxiety, concentration problems, sleep disorders, cardiovascular disorders, hypertension … It can also disturb communication and concentration, leading to work accidents
  • Above 80 dBA: noise can cause buzzing and ringing in the ears, as well as a temporary decrease in audition. However, this fatigue is reversible and can disappear in a few days or weeks if the worker is no longer exposed to the noise during this period
  • 140 dBC and over: a sudden, intense noise, eg. during an explosion, can cause total or partial deafness, which may or may not be reversible


Noise and pregnancy

As a noise can cause deafness in a pregnant worker, it can also represent a danger for the fœtus. In fact, during the last trimester of pregnancy, the internal ear of the fœtus is particularly sensitive. Strong and low frequency noises (below 250 Hz) easily cross the natural barriers that protect the fœtus (abdominal and uterine walls, and amniotic liquid) and are potentially dangerous for the audition of the unborn child.



In France, 66,000 deaths (1 in 9) are attributed to smoking annually (source: planetoscope).

  • One cigarette less is equivalent to 11 extra minutes of life
  • 37% of smoking adolescents aged 11 - 15 years claim they are addicted to nicotine

Risks of smoking during pregnancy

Smoking during pregnancy carries multiple risks for the pregnancy itself, and for the development of the fœtus. The most well-known risk is insufficient development of the foetus caused mainly by CO passing into the bloodstream, where it takes the place of oxygen (source: tabac/info/service).

Passive smoking

A report from the Medical Academy estimates the number of non-smokers killed by passive smoking at 3,000 per year in France. Risks: For the Fœtus: delayed development. In the young child: an increased risk of asthma and respiratory infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis. In the Adult: for a non-smoker, exposure to cigarette smoke increases the risk of heart attack by 50% (source: tabac/info/service).


Definition of COPD

Definition of COPD: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

COPD in France

More than 3.5 million people, i.e. 7.5% of the adult population, have COPD. 16,000 die annually, i.e. 3% of deaths in France (source: COPD Association).

How is COPD diagnosed?

A positive “obstructive ventilatory problem” via a spirometric test.

What are the causes of COPD?

Smoking is by far the main risk factor in developed countries: 30% of smokers who smoke more than one packet/day for 20 years will develop COPD, i.e. 2,500,000 cases in France.

What are the symptoms of COPD?

Chronic “smoker’s cough” upon waking, breathlessness with effort, attributed to a lack of fitness (source: Pneumocourlancy).

Asthma statistics

Over 4 million asthmatics in France (6.7% of the population and 9% of children). Leading chronic illness in children, which causes 1,000 deaths/year in persons below 65 years of age. (Source: Asthma and Allergy Association).

What is asthma?

A respiratory illness caused by chronic inflammation of the bronchial tubes, characterised by obstruction of the airways (source: Assuréo). Symptoms:

  • Respiratory wheeze
  • Thoracic oppression
  • Cough
  • Breathlessness
(Source: l’association pulmonaire). What to do? Spirometry is an important diagnostic and support tool for asthmatics. If you are asthmatic and have never taken a spirometry test, speak to your doctor about this.