8 Types Of Noise That Can Damage Your Hearing

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Many people take their hearing for granted without realizing that their daily environment could slowly damage their hearing ability. Our ears are often exposed to noises that can lead to long-term damage, such as blaring music or the constant hum of traffic.

This blog post will explore eight noises that can cause hearing loss. If you value your hearing health, you want to keep reading to learn more about the sounds you should be cautious of in your everyday life.

Understanding Noise and Its Impact on Hearing

Everyone knows that proximity to loud noises, such as a gun going off or a speaker at a rock concert, can immediately damage hearing. Few people realize that day-to-day activities can lead to hearing loss.

Hearing loss is something many people deal with as they age because of genetics or age-related changes in the signals from the ear to the brain.  But younger people also risk hearing loss due to loud noises that damage the inner ear. Prolonged exposure to loud noises damages the hair cells in the cochlea. Once the cells are damaged or dead, they can’t regenerate, leading to irreversible hearing loss.

The 8 Types of Noises That Can Damage Your Hearing

Sounds at 70 decibels and higher can damage hearing after constant exposure. For reference, normal conversation is about 60 decibels. Here are eight types of noises that can damage your hearing immediately or with prolonged exposure.

Type 1: Loud Music

Music is an important part of many people’s lives, but attending live music events – even the opera – can lead to hearing loss. Live music events have a decibel range of 110 to 130.

The best way to protect your ears at concerts and other live music events is by wearing earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. It’s also recommended to stay at least 30 feet from the speakers.

Type 2: Heavy Machinery  

Exposure to loud noises can happen during everyday activities or at work. Construction workers have one of the highest rates of hearing loss compared to workers in other industries. The decibels of heavy machinery can range between 90 and 110. Even home improvement projects with loud machinery can damage hearing.

Wearing earplugs or earmuffs while using loud tools and machinery.

Type 3: Traffic Noise

Sitting in your vehicle in heavy traffic during your daily commute can damage your ears. Traffic noises can range from 70 to 80 decibels, which is close to the normal range for conversation. However, prolonged exposure to the sound of horns, sirens, or loud motors can lead to minor levels of hearing loss.

To combat damage to your hearing, keep ear protection in your glove box and limit exposure as much as possible.

Type 4: Household Appliances

Many people are surprised to learn that common household appliances can contribute to hearing loss. Lawnmowers and snowblowers are two main culprits for hearing loss caused by household appliances, ranging from 80 to 100 decibels. But even regular exposure to smaller equipment such as hair dryers (80-90 decibels) can damage hearing.

The best prevention is limiting the usage of loud indoor appliances and wearing ear protection when mowing the lawn or snow blowing.

Type 5: Sporting Events

The roar of the crowd at a live sporting event can surge to 140, well above safe decibel levels. Add in amplified announcements and blaring music, and you’ve got a recipe for potential hearing damage.

Earplugs are again the best protection against hearing loss.

Type 6: Airplanes/Jet Noise

Watching airplanes take off is a popular pastime for those who live near airports, but the hobby can cause hearing loss. The sound of jets and airplanes can range from 105 decibels inside the plane to 140 decibels outside. On average, passengers inside the plane will be exposed to sounds at 80-85 decibels during the flight.

Many people choose to wear earplugs during take-off and landing to protect their hearing.

Type 7: Firearms

For those who enjoy recreational shooting or are part of the military or law enforcement, gunfire is a significant threat to hearing health, with decibels as high as 175.  The explosive sound of a gun being fired can instantly damage the ear’s delicate structures and cause irreversible hearing loss.

When hunting, earplugs or sound-canceling headphones can muffle the noises of prey but can help preserve hearing.

Type 8: Personal Audio Devices

Earbuds that keep the noises from your phones or other devices private are extremely popular right now. But those earbuds are dangerous for the inner ear, as sound goes directly into the ear canal.

Limiting the use of personal audio devices and keeping the volume low can prevent damage to your hearing.

Our hearing is constantly under assault from everyday noises. While we can’t live in a bubble, we can take steps to protect our ears. This includes wearing ear protection when necessary and getting regular hearing checkups.

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