When is loud too loud? Many people don’t know. Even those who do may not have enough information to make a good judgment call. Noise of 85 decibels or louder can cause permanent damage to your hearing.
However, it’s more complicated than that. It’s not just about how loud something is, but it’s also about how long you’re hearing it for. An occasional, short, loud noise can cause less damage than a prolonged, moderate noise.
How long and how loud?
As noise levels increase, the amount of time your ears are safe for goes down. As a rough guide, damage can happen after:
- 8 hours at 85 decibels
- 4 hours at 88 decibels
- 2 hours at 91 decibels
- 15 minutes at 100 decibels.
Some sounds to look out for
A sound doesn’t have to cause pain to be doing damage. Here are some everyday sounds that can cause damage with excessive exposure:
- Airplane cabin – 80-90 decibels
- Hairdryer – 85 decibels
- Food blender – 90 decibels
- Noisy bar – 100 decibels
- Headphones at maximum volume – 100 decibels
- Motorcycle – 100 decibels
- Trains or subway – 100 decibels
- Sports event – 105 decibels
- Music concerts – 120 decibels, maybe more.
Hearing damage day-to-day
Watch out for household tools that can put your hearing in danger. Have a large backyard? Using your lawnmower for more than 2 hours will put your hearing at risk. A hairdryer has an average decibel rating of 85, and that thing is blowing right next to your ears! Hearing damage from sounds that don’t seem that loud can be accumulative. So, using your hair dryer, heck, even your blender, could damage your hearing over time. So, what to do about it…?
How to prevent hearing loss
Luckily, when you protect your hearing day-to-day, you can prevent damage and many of the problems that can come along with it.
- Wear ear plugs for moderate noise and ear muffs for loud noise – make sure they’re good quality ones
- Move away from noises when you can
- Protect kids who can’t protect themselves
- Turn your headphones down, just a couple of notches can do the trick.
Get your hearing checked
Want to know how your hearing is doing? Perhaps you’re having some trouble already. The only way to know if you have a hearing loss is to get a check from a professional audiologist. Contact us at Beltone Hearing if you have any concerns about your hearing. We can give you help and advice about hearing protection and preventing hearing loss. If there’s something wrong with your hearing, we can help fix it.