What can you do?
Hearing loss is a gradual and normal part of the aging process. However, excessive noise is still the primary cause. Permanent hearing loss can occur almost instantly with unprotected exposure to certain sounds.
To protect yourself from noise:
- If the sound level at work exceeds 85dB, reduce the noise level or wear hearing protection.
- Lower the volume of your television, stereo and iPod. Take special care if you use headphones or earbuds.
- Be careful not to turn up your car stereo volume too loudly to compensate for noise from the engine or the wind.
- Wear custom noise filters or solid earplugs if you go to rock concerts or nightclubs, and don't stand near loud speakers.
- Wear noise-cancelling headphones or solid earplugs if you use noisy equipment such as drills, lawnmowers, etc.
To avoid damage from foreign objects:
- Don't use cotton swabs to clean your ears. Doing so may push wax down onto your eardrum and can increase the production of wax and/or damage the eardrum.
- Avoid washing with unclean water to prevent ear infections.
What are decibels?
Decibels (dB) measure the intensity of sound: from 0dB, which is the faintest sound the human ear can detect, to the noise of a rocket during launch, which can exceed 180dB.
Experts typically consider exposure to more than 85dB to be dangerous, which means things like motorcycles, headphones and lawnmowers have potential to lead to permanent hearing loss.
Are you at risk?
If you're exposed to sounds above 85dB, you may be putting your hearing at risk.
- Gunshot, Jet Engine at Takeoff Immediate danger to hearing
- Air Raid Siren, Firecracker Pain threshold
- Rock Concert, Sandblasting Risk of hearing damage in 7 minutes
- Baby's Cry, Jet Ski Risk of hearing damage in 15 minutes
- Snowmobile in Driver's Seat Risk of hearing damage in 30 minutes
- Jackhammer, Helicopter Risk of hearing damage in 1 hour
- Chain Saw, Stereo Headphones Risk of hearing damage in 2 hours
- Motorcycle, Power Saw Risk of hearing damage in 4 hours
- Lawnmower, Truck Traffic Risk of hearing damage in 8 hours
- Beginning of OSHA Regulations
- Busy traffic, Vacuum Cleaner
- Conversation, Dishwasher
- Quiet Room