WHAT IS NOISE INDUCED HEARING LOSS (NIHL)?
HOW DO LOUD SOUNDS CAUSE HEARING LOSS?
Loud sounds can damage the hair cells of our inner ear. These hair cells play an important role in our hearing as they convert sounds into electrical signals that travel to our brain. When 25 to 30% of these hair cells are damaged, you begin to experience hearing loss. Once damaged, our hair cells cannot grow back, causing permanent hearing loss.
WHAT IS CONSIDERED A "LOUD SOUND"?
The loudness of a sound is measured in units called decibels (dB). NIHL can be caused by prolonged exposure to any loud noise over 85 decibels. Noises that are 110 dB or louder can cause hearing loss after exposure of more than one minute.
To get an idea:
60 dB= normal conversation
70 dB= vacuum cleaner
80 dB= alarm clock
90 dB= hair dryer, lawn mower
100 dB= mp3 player at full volume
110 dB= concert
120 dB= jet plane at take off
130 dB= ambulance siren
140 dB= fireworks, firearms
Some ways to know if noise is dangerously loud:
- You have to shout over the noise to be heard
- You feel pain in your ears
- Your ears begin to ring
- You have muffled hearing for several hours after exposure