Prevention of hearing loss
Hearing loss is a gradual and normal part of the aging process. However, excessive noise is still the primary cause. Permanent hearing loss can occur almost instantly with unprotected exposure to certain sounds.
Protect yourself from noise
- If the sound level at work exceeds 85dB, reduce the noise level or wear hearing protection.
- Lower the volume of your television, stereo and iPod. Take special care if you use headphones or earbuds.
- Be careful not to turn up your car stereo volume too loudly to compensate for noise from the engine or the wind.
- Wear custom noise filters or solid earplugs if you go to rock concerts or nightclubs, and don’t stand near loud speakers.
- Wear noise-cancelling headphones or solid earplugs if you use noisy equipment such as drills, lawnmowers, etc.
Damage from foreign objects
- Don’t use cotton swabs to clean your ears. Doing so may push wax down onto your eardrum and can increase the production of wax and/or damage the eardrum.
- Avoid washing with unclean water to prevent ear infections.
Watch your decibels
Decibels (dB) measure the intensity of sound: from 0dB, which is the faintest sound the human ear can detect, to the noise of a rocket during launch, which can exceed 180dB.
Experts typically consider exposure to more than 85dB to be dangerous, which means things like motorcycles, headphones and lawnmowers have potential to lead to permanent hearing loss.
Typical environmental sounds:
- 40dB Quiet Room
- 60dB Conversation, Dishwasher
- 70dB Busy Traffic, Vacuum Cleaner
- 85dB Beginning of OSHA Regulations
- 90dB Lawnmower, Truck Traffic (Risk of hearing damage in 8 hours)
- 95dB Motorcycle, Power Saw (Risk of hearing damage in 4 hours)
- 100dB Chain Saw, Stereo Headphones (Risk of hearing damage in 2 hours)
- 105dB Jackhammer, Helicopter (Risk of hearing damage in 1 hour)
- 110dB Snowmobile in Driver’s Seat (Risk of hearing damage in 30 minutes
- 115dB Baby’s Cry, Jet Ski (Risk of hearing damage in 15 minutes)
- 120dB Rock Concert, Sandblasting (Risk of hearing damage in 7 minutes)
- 125dB Air Raid Siren, Firecracker (Pain threshold)
- 140dB Gunshot, Jet Engine at Takeoff (Immediate danger to hearing)