Innocent, everyday household tasks can cause permanent hearing loss. But what sounds have you susceptible? Find out what sounds are hurting your hearing and how to protect it.
“Making Oopsie bread was supposed to be an uneventful kitchen event. While using my hand mixer to whip the egg whites in a glass bowl, I could not believe how loud it was. Being the investigator that I am, I opened my sound meter app and began measuring. All measurements were over 90 decibels (dB), and top-level was 101dB. So I put on my ear protection muffs and continued to whip.” — Dr. Griffin
A Recipe For Protection
Exposure to excessive noise levels (greater than 85 dB) during work or other activities can significantly increase your risk of hearing loss or exacerbate an existing hearing impairment. Going without hearing protection in the face of harmful noise levels is likely to create problems down the road, when the damaging effects to the delicate hair cells of the cochlea — the inner-ear organ that relays sound signals to the brain — begin to surface.
Concerts, sporting events, hunting, ATV riding, running power tools, or simply listening to music too loudly can all irreparably damage hearing. At times, these noise levels can reach 110 decibels or more, which puts your hearing at risk in a matter of minutes. Some sounds can damage hearing instantly. A shotgun blast at close range without protection can exceed 150 dB, permanently damaging your hearing in one single, fleeting moment.
Repeated noise exposure early in life can compound as you get older. Since the hair cells in your inner ear never regenerate, your hearing is unlikely to get any better on its own after experiencing repeated traumatic events. Hearing damage suffered during teen years may not surface until your late 20s or early 30s, or even your 50s or 60s when presbycusis — age-related deterioration of hearing — becomes a greater factor.
How Loud Is Too Loud?
As a general rule, if you have to raise your voice to be heard over the music or noise, it’s probably too loud and might be on the cusp of damaging your hearing. Noise levels about the same as a lawnmower or heavy freeway traffic tend to hover between 80 and 90 dBs, which is when hearing is at risk of damage. Those who are regularly exposed to noises of 85 dB or more should have their hearing tested regularly to see if the effects of hearing damage are already present.
What You Should Start Doing Now to Preserve Your Hearing Later
If you face continuous loud noise exposure in your leisure activities or at work, please contact us for advice on the latest hearing protection methods that best suit your needs, or to schedule an appointment to be fitted for custom hearing protection.
Hearing protection prevents damaging noise levels by dampening the piercing sounds but still allowing you to hearing the sounds you want to hear clearly. Our hearing protection goes beyond earplugs bought at a store — we offer a variety of custom-fit hearing protection designed to fit the contours of your ear perfectly, offering a snug, comfortable fit and all-day protection from dangerous noise.