Noise-induced hearing loss affects approximately 15 percent of Americans between the ages of 20 and 69, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). For those counting, that’s 26 million of us!
Noise-induced hearing loss can happen suddenly, say if you’re exposed to a loud impulse sound like a gunshot or explosion. Or, it can happen gradually — caused by regularly listening to music too loud, working in noisy environments, or using things like leaf blowers, lawn mowers, motorcycles or power tools without wearing proper hearing protection.
But noise-induced hearing loss can also be prevented — by knowing what sounds are too loud (anything above 85 decibel) and either avoiding them, limiting your exposure or proximity to them, or wearing earplugs, ear muffs or other hearing protection when around loud noises.
The chart above identifies some common dangerous sounds. Our SoundCheck app is even better: it lets you measure the decibel level in any environment you find yourself. Be smart. Be safe. And protect your hearing!