Loud noises lead to hearing loss. Sometimes the loss occurs over a period of years and the person does not notice it until significant damage has occurred. In other cases, a single event leads to hearing loss, e.g. B. when a loud noise occurs next to the person’s ear. Fortunately, in most cases, people can protect their hearing. To do this, however, the individual needs to know how noise causes this loss.
Noise and hearing loss
People can lose their hearing due to a loud noise near their ear. For example, if a person sets off fireworks, they must wear hearing protection to avoid hearing loss. On the other hand, hearing loss can be more gradual due to repeated exposure to loud noises. For example, a person who uses a jackhammer on a daily basis as part of their work may experience hearing loss if they do not protect their ears. Loud noises lead to more rapid hearing loss. The longer a person is exposed to loud noises, the greater the risk that they will lose all or part of their hearing. This happens faster if the person is not wearing hearing protection or if their ears do not have enough time to rest between exposures. For more information on hearing protection options, visit earpeace.com.
Sources of loud noise
Loud noise comes from different sources. Some sources damage the ears from everyday activities. Other sources can damage a person’s hearing after a single event. Daily activities that can lead to hearing loss include music from personal hearing aids or smartphones. The risk of hearing loss increases if the person listens to this music and the volume stays at or near the maximum level. Children’s toys may be loud enough to cause hearing damage, and so is fitness classes.
Men and women attending a concert can damage their hearing due to the loud noises that are common at these events. Sports events are another source of loud noise that can lead to hearing loss. The same applies to motorized sporting events such as a NASCAR race. Going to a movie theater can also lead to hearing loss if the theater turns the sound up enough.
People need to know the decibel value of the items they use regularly. These include firearms, firecrackers, and sirens. However, power tools and gas-powered lawn tools operate at levels that could damage their hearing, but many users are unaware of this.
Decibel level of common noises
Humans measure sound in decibels (dB). The sound level associated with a whisper is 30 dB, while normal breathing has a decibel level of 10 dB. When two people are having a conversation, the average sound level is 60 dB. Any sound above 70dB to which a person is exposed for a period of time can cause hearing loss, while loud sounds at 120dB or higher can cause immediate damage to the ears.
The average noise level from a washing machine is 70 dB, while a person sitting in their car in city traffic has an average noise level of 80 to 85 dB. Gas powered lawn tools also have an average sound level of 80-85 dB, and a person may find that they are damaging their hearing after just two hours of exposure to these tools. Personal hearing aids have an average sound level of 105-110 dB, and this level damages the hearing in just five minutes. Eventually, a person standing next to a siren or near a cracker will be exposed to a sound level of 120 to 150 dB, which can cause immediate pain and injury to the ear.
The sound intensity
Men and women need to understand that the level of noise registered in their ears may not reflect the actual intensity of the noise. Sound intensity represents the amount of sound energy that is present in a confined space, and scientists measure this intensity in decibels. Since the decibel scale is logarithmic, volume and sound intensity are not directly proportional. Sound intensity increases quickly, and two sounds of the same intensity may not sound the same. Why is that?
Volume is used as a measure of how a person perceives audible noises. Imagine you are sitting in a quiet room. It’s easy to hear what a pen does when it rolls off the table and falls on the floor. However, this pen can roll off a table in a busy restaurant and no one would notice. The sound intensity has not changed, and the risk of hearing damage is not affected by the volume of the sound. The risk of hearing damage increases with increasing sound intensity.
How can a person judge the sound intensity in different situations? An easy way to do this would be to stay away from another person. If you cannot conduct a conversation with your normal speaking voices, the noise level can damage your hearing, as the probability of a sound intensity of over 85 dB is high.
For more information on sound levels and what experts believe is safe, men and women today have access to a variety of tools. Sound level meters allow you to measure noise in close proximity, and today a person can download one of these apps on smartphones. In addition, users with certain apps can now predict their maximum allowable daily noise dose. NIOSH offers a variety of publications about noise levels that a person may want to refer to. This includes the NIOSH Sound Meter and the NIOSH Power Tools Database. Additionally, a person may want to check the Sight and Hearing Association’s list of noisy toys to make sure it won’t damage their child’s hearing, or the Noise Navigator sound level database.
The World Health Organization and the Environmental Protection Agency have issued guidelines on environmental noise. The agencies recommend keeping the noise level below 70 dBA for 24 hours or below 75 dBA for eight hours. This helps prevent hearing loss due to noise. Keep this in mind and work to keep the noise level in your immediate area below this level to protect your hearing now and in the future.