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How Loud is Too Loud?

Noise, it’s all around us! Most of the time, it isn’t harmful to our hearing, but how loud is too loud?

Hearing damage becomes possible when noise levels reach around 80-85 decibels for long periods of time.  How loud is that?  Let’s compare some common every day activities and places that produce noise.

  • Conversational speech:  60 decibels
  • Lawnmower:  90 decibels
  • Food processor:  95 decibels
  • Jackhammer:  110 decibels
  • Emergency vehicle siren:  115 decibels
  • On October 1, 2000 Denver Broncos fans created a roar of 128.7 decibels at the old Mile High Stadium
  • Jet engine take off:  140 decibels
  • Safety airbag:  170 decibels

Noise Fun Fact:  “The Bloop” is the name given to an ultra-low frequency and extremely powerful underwater sound detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1997.  The sound was so powerful it was heard by underwater sensors over 3,106 miles (5,000km) apart.  Read more about the Bloop here.

With all these common sounds that can permanently damage our hearing, how can we protect ourselves?

  • Wear hearing protection. These include earmuffs, over-the-counter earplugs, or custom made ear plugs from an audiologist.  Watch this video of our very own Dr. Leah Mitchell demonstrate the proper way to use ear plugs.
  • Turn down the volume. Don’t listen to personal audio players louder than half volume. Custom made ear molds for the audio players allow you to hear the music better at a lower volume level. Move away from the sound system if the volume level is too loud.
  • Avoidance. Avoid being in environments with loud noise if you do not have hearing protection.
  • Look for products that advertise a lower noise level. These can be found on appliances and tools, as well as toys for children.

Now we know how loud is too loud.  We wear sunglasses to protect our eyes from the sun.  Don’t forget to protect your ears from noise.  Hearing loss due to noise exposure is easily preventable but it can happen at any age and is permanent!

Have you experienced hearing loss due to noise exposure? 

If you have any questions about protecting your hearing or hearing loss due to loud noises, please contact any of our audiologists.

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