Skip to Content
chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up chevron-right chevron-left arrow-back star phone quote checkbox-checked search wrench info shield play connection mobile coin-dollar spoon-knife ticket pushpin location gift fire feed bubbles home heart calendar price-tag credit-card clock envelop facebook instagram twitter youtube pinterest yelp google reddit linkedin envelope bbb pinterest homeadvisor angies

It’s a noisy world out there! We come into sounds all day, at home, on our way to work and everywhere in-between. Most people are aware that excessive sound can damage hearing, but not everyone may be aware of all the sources of damaging exposure in your life. When we are aware of some of the most common sources of noise induced hearing loss, we are able to prepare and take precautions to minimize the risk to our hearing. This is important as Noise induced hearing loss is permanent. Here are just a few things to consider when navigating the world of sound.


Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Besides hearing loss due to advanced age, exposure to loud noise is the most common cause of hearing loss. It affects 1 in 8 people 12 years or older in both ears, based on standard examinations. This includes teenagers and young adults due to unsafe listening practices. In fact, according to the Hearing Health Foundation:

  • 50% of people ages 12-35 are potentially exposed to unsafe noise from personal listening devices
  • 40% of people ages 12-35 could be exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues
  • Meanwhile an estimated, 30 million people in the U.S. are exposed to hazardous noise levels in the workplace!


How Sound Damages the Ears

We collect sound with our ears, but the task is not complete until these sounds reach the brain where they are processed. Sound has only one way to reach the brain and this is due to tiny cells in the inner ear, which resemble hairs, called stereocilia. They live in a tiny fluid filled; snail shaped organ called the cochlea. As sound travels through the ear canal, the vibrations trigger the fluid of the cochlea to trigger the stereocilia. At this point the stereocilia transform the sounds into electrical pulses which can be received by the brain. When sound gets too loud for too long the vibrations can be to extreme for the stereocilia to support. They become shattered against the membrane wall which holds them, causing either permanent damage or destruction, blocking their designated tones and pitches from reaching the brain.


How Loud is too Loud?

The loudness of volume of sound is measured in units referred to as decibels (dBA) and past the threshold of 85 dBA, sounds can be too loud for your ears longstanding health. Your ear can withstand 85 dBA for 8 hours or more before damage begins. However, with ever increase of 3 decibels the time it takes for damage to occur becomes lessened by half. For instance at 88 dBA, it takes only 4 hours for damage to occur. At 95 decibels it takes under an hour and at 105 dBA it can take less than 15 minuets!


To better understand the decibels and when they may be putting your hearing at risk here is a relative chart:

–          0dB: silence

–          30dB: whispering

–          60dB: normal conversation

–          80dB: city traffic, vacuum cleaner

–          100dB: power equipment (hand drill, lawnmower)

–          120: airplane takeoff

–          130dB: concert, sporting event


Monitoring Daily Exposure

on your smartphone. There are several available on Android and iPhone which can give you an average decibel level for sounds you encounter every day. You place of employment is obligated to provide hearing protection at no additional cost and should be monitoring and taking precautions to reduce exposure to harmful sounds. However, due to the permanent nature of hearing loss you can’t afford for them to make mistakes. Take your hearing health into your own hands and make sure you know the average dBA level in your work, home, and commute.


Protect Your Hearing Health

If you identify sources of noise in your life the first step is to make sure you are protected. You can use disposable foam earplugs, custom molded sets which fit the exterior of the ear or protective earmuffs which rest over the entire ear. Whatever model you choose make sure it works for you. Your hearing is too precious to gamble with.


If you’ve experienced changes in your hearing, it is a good idea to schedule a hearing exam right away. The sooner you seek treatment the sooner we can help you find relief. Schedule an appointment with us today.