The Sounds of Life: The Daily Noises that Can Ruin Your Hearing

Do you know about the dangers of sound? It’s true, continuous exposure to loud sounds can damage your ears (especially your fragile cochlea!) and cause noise-induced hearing loss. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, an estimated 16 percent of Americans between the ages of 12 and 19 and 15 percent between the ages of 20 and 69 have some degree of noise-induced hearing loss. Many of us know that exposure to loud, continuous sounds such as explosions or gunshots can harm your ears, but even the average, everyday noises can slowly rob you of your hearing.

Noise is a common aspect of our daily lives, but persistent exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause damage. Noises over 100 decibels require ear protection, as noises over 110 decibels can put you at risk of permanent hearing loss. Everyone should try to avoid prolonged loud noise exposure when for those times that you can’t you should take precautions. Some of the precautions you should follow include:

  • Wear ear protection (earplugs, earmuffs) when exposed to sounds over 100 decibels.
  • Take frequent breaks when you are exposed to continuous loud noise, even if you are wearing ear protection.
  • Personal devices should be kept at half volume. Typically you can lower the maximum volume level in the device’s settings.
  • If you can, stay away from the sound equipment at concerts or conferences. Make sure you are not sitting or standing near any of the speakers.
  • See your audiologist if you believe you may have some degree of hearing loss.

You may be wondering, what are the normal, everyday sounds that can put our hearing in jeopardy? Some of the sounds that you hear on a daily basis are not trivial. They can add up in time. To protect your ears, take precautions when you are exposed to these everyday sounds that can ruin your hearing.

Personal Device Player : 70-100 dB

Blender or Food Processor : 80-90 dB

Hair Dryer : 80-90 dB

Bulldozer (Idling) : 85 dB

Traffic : 85 dB

Concerts : 85-115 dB

Subway : 90 dB

Alarms : 90-120 dB

Drill : 100 dB

Chainsaw : 105-110 dB

Lawnmower or Snow Blower : 106 dB

Car Horn : 115 dB

Thunder : 120 dB

Firecrackers : 140-150 dB

Gunshot : 140-190 dB

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