How Loud is too Loud?

We live in a noisy world. But did you know that many noises you hear on a regular basis could potentially damage your hearing?

Sound is measured in decibels (dB) and according to the CDC, “Noise above 85 dB over a prolonged period of time may start to damage your hearing. Loud noise above 120 dB can cause immediate harm to your ears.”

Common Noises Over 85 dB

The CDC lists some of the common noises with decibel levels that exceed 85 dB. Familiarize yourself with these noises and pay attention to the amount of time you would need to be exposed to that sound before it could potentially cause hearing damage. (For a more complete list, visit the CDC’s website.)

Safety depends on both the noise level and exposure time. To learn more about the relationship between noise level and exposure time, and how to determine what’s safe, visit NIOSH’s website.

What can you do?

There are easy ways to protect your hearing whenever you are exposed to dangerously loud noises for an extended period of time:

  • Wear earmuffs or earplugs: Disposable earplugs are effective and cheap. Another option is custom fit musician plugs, which “provide protection while preserving music fidelity”.
  • Keep the volume at a safe level
  • Be aware of how long you are being exposed to loud noises and adjust accordingly to protect your hearing. Consider downloading a smartphone app that measures noise levels and schedule regular appointments with a hearing professional.

Loud noises are a part of everyday life, so it may not seem like a harmful thing. But the reality is, being around loud noises for too long can cause damage.

The audiologists at Center for Hearing can help you protect your hearing and would be happy to answer any questions you may have about noise-induced hearing loss, earplugs and protective devices. Contact us today!