We live in a loud world and are constantly exposed to all levels of sounds. Some, like the soft chirping of birds, are harmless while others can cause irreversible damage to your ears. Fortunately, once you understand which sounds are unsafe you can properly protect yourself.
What Sounds Are Dangerous
Noise-induced hearing loss occurs when you are exposed to sounds that are too loud. Sounds are measured in decibels (dB). Anything measuring more then 85 dB can permanently damage the delicate hair cells within the inner ear. These hair cells are responsible for converting sound vibrations into electrical impulses that are sent via the auditory nerve to the brain to be interpreted as sound.
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders put together the below list of the average decibel ratings of some familiar sounds:
- Normal conversation: 60-70 dB.
- Movie theater: 74-104 dB.
- Dirt bike: 80-110 dB.
- Music through headphones at maximum volume: 94-110 dB.
- Sirens: 110-129 dB.
- Fireworks: 140-160 dB.
Do you have to shout in order to be heard? If so, this is a quick and simple indication that you are in a loud, unsafe environment.
Common Dangerously Loud Activities
Below is a look at some common recreational activities that may be putting your hearing at risk.
Attending a Music Event
Live music events measure more than 110 dB. No wonder so many professional musicians report hearing loss after their long careers on stage.
Going to a Sporting Event
There is nothing like being at a live sporting event. But it doesn’t matter where your seats are at Chaparral Stadium the arena can get dangerously loud. In 2014, the Kansas City Chiefs broke the Guinness World Record for crowd roar at a sports stadium when their crowd noise measured 142.2 dB.
Your well-stocked garage may be a woodworker’s paradise, but be careful: power tools can produce unsafe sounds that can damage your hearing in just a few minutes.
How to Protect Yourself
Wearing hearing protection is the best way to keep your hearing and the delicate hair cells inside your inner ear safe. You can purchase inexpensive disposable earplugs from your local pharmacy. Custom-made earplugs can be purchased from your audiologist. While more expensive, these earplugs made from a mold of your ear offer a better fit and superior protection. To learn more about keeping your ears safe or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact Victory Hearing & Balance Center today.