More than 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults from the ages of 12 to 35 years old are at risk of hearing loss due to their exposure to damaging levels of noise during recreational activities and the use of personal audio devices, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In addition to hearing loss, many suffer from ongoing tinnitus that causes stress, loss of sleep, and makes it difficult to concentrate.
Fortunately, noise-induced hearing loss is easy to prevent.
My hope is that by raising awareness of the importance of using hearing protection, I can encourage individuals living in and around Emmett, ID to become more conscientious and proactive about preventing damage to their hearing.
How much noise is too much noise?
Ongoing exposure to sounds a few decibels above 85 dB (a busy restaurant, tractor motor, blender/food processor) for longer than eight hours per day will cause hearing damage.
As you increase decibel levels by a factor of 3 dB, the same amount of damage occurs in half as much time.
For a better understanding of how much noise is too much, here is a quick guide to the decibel levels and the length of time you can be exposed to various sounds before causing damage to your hearing.
- Power mower – 90 dB (2 hours)
- Motorcycle – 94 dB (1 hour)
- ATV or Snowmobile – 100 dB (15 minutes)
- Major sports event – 106 dB (<4 minutes)
- Chainsaw – 110 dB (90 seconds)
- Nightclub or Rock Concert – 120 dB (7 seconds)
- Jackhammer – 130 dB (1 second)
- Rifle, Firecracker, or Shotgun blast – 140-160 dB (instant)
6 Ways to Prevent Hearing Damage
Preventing damage to your hearing is not all that complicated; it just requires greater awareness and a commitment to use some type of protection while you’re engaged in various activities.
Here are six ways to prevent hearing damage:
#1 – Earplugs are easy to find and can protect you from damage during most short-term recreational activities. Specialized earplugs and headphones are also available for target shooting, hunting, music performance, concerts, etc., from your hearing care provider or sporting goods and instrument retailers.
#2 – Limiting your time in noisy environments will also help prevent damage. Remember that for every 3 dB of increase over 85 dB, you should cut the time of exposure in half.
#3 – Listen to audio devices at a responsible level, especially when wearing earbuds or headphones because the sound is more concentrated. As a rule of thumb, if you are unable to hear a conversation next to you or a person next to you, then the volume is too loud.
#4 – Scheduling annual hearing exams if you are among those at risk to noise-induced hearing loss due to your occupation or the activities you enjoy is a sure way to monitor hearing damage. A commitment to this practice allows a hearing care professional to identify and correct problems before they become a major issue.
#5 – Wear earplugs while swimming. Getting into a habit of using earplugs while swimming will help prevent prolonged ear infections, such as swimmer’s ear, which can cause damage to your hearing.
#6 – Increase your awareness of the warning signals your body provides when you are around noises that can damage your ears. Irritation or pain from noise, tinnitus after an explosion or loud concert, and stuffiness or muffled sound after exposure to loud noises are all signals that you are doing damage to your hearing.
Dove Hearing Is Here to Help Protect Your Hearing
Hearing loss and/or tinnitus, which are common consequences of noise-induced hearing loss, have the potential to interrupt a rewarding lifestyle and decrease your overall quality of life.
That’s why the Dove Hearing team and I are eager to help protect the hearing of everyone in nearby Oregon and Idaho communities.
Contact us for more information about noise-induced hearing damage or if you or a loved one is frequently exposed to loud noise at work or takes part in recreational activities with the potential to cause hearing damage before the damage is done.