Hearing Damage Caused by Noise Exposure
Our ears are delicate organs and are very susceptible to hearing damage. It’s never too early to begin thinking about hearing protection. Noise induced hearing loss is one of the leading causes of hearing loss and is caused by a prolonged exposure to loud noise. But just how much noise does it take to cause hearing damage? The truth is, not much noise at all.
To put sound levels in perspective, consider that average conversational speech comes in at about 60db. 60db is a very comfortable level of sound. Once sound gets above about 85db, that’s when workplace regulations begin to take effect (i.e, OSHA). So 85db is a pretty good threshold to start to consider sound as potentially damaging to hearing. Lots of workplaces today have hazardous noise levels which can damage hearing. Airport workers, emergency medical personnel, musicians, welders, fabricators, truck drivers, miners, and construction workers are the most vulnerable to hearing damage from loud noise exposure, but you may be surprised at the noise levels of every day occurrences outside of the workplace as well.
For instance, damage to the hearing can occur after just 8 cumulative hours of listening to the roar of a lawn mower, which is approximately 90db. Motorcycle riders can experience hearing damage within just 4 hours of riding. Listening to headphones at a high volume can cause hearing loss after just 2 hours. Probably most startling, is that a baby’s cry, which can be as loud as 115 db, can cause damage to the hearing in as little as 15 minutes. Some of the more obvious noises to avoid, such as gun shots or firework explosions, can cause hearing loss immediately.
If you are ever in environments which get above 80 decibels, you should constantly be wearing hearing protection. This is so important, because once the damage to your hearing has been done it cannot be reversed. Fortunately, 90 percent of sensorineural hearing loss (caused by excessive noise) can be improved by wearing a hearing aid.
If you’d like a free phone consultation with a licensed hearing provider, please feel free to call us at 800-731-6794.