How Do Loud Noises Affect Me?
Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, can be caused by exposure to loud noises. Exposure to loud noises can damage the cells in your inner ear. These cells are called cilia, and once they are damaged or destroyed, they cannot be repaired! It is of utmost importance to protect these sensitive cells!
According to the ATA, more than 90 percent of their members with tinnitus also have measurable levels of hearing loss. Your hearing can be impaired from one loud sound, or from repeated exposure to loud sounds.
So, How Loud Is Too Loud?
Sound is measured in decibels, and marked with the abbreviation dB. Many experts recommend limiting exposure to sounds over 85 decibels (dB). When sound is over that threshold but cannot be avoided, ear plugs are recommended.
Isn’t “Loud” Subjective?
While what’s quiet to some may be deafening to others, there are measured levels of a number of different sounds. The CDC has a great tool, known as the “Noise Meter”. It includes the length of time before hearing damage may begin to occur. For example, an ambulance siren operates at 120 dB. Exposure to the siren for longer than one (1) minute can be damaging to your hearing! It’s important to be careful in order to limit exposure.
How Can I Protect Myself & My Hearing?
Many causes of hearing damage and loss are preventable. Be sure not to play music at a loud level, whether it’s in the car or on personal headphones. Wear earplugs at concerts, race car events, or other noisy functions, and try to avoid walking near loud noises. For example, if there is construction on one side of the street, it is advisable to use the other side to limit noise exposure.