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How much noise is too much?

2012-08-09

Sounds at or above 85 decibels (dB) can damage your ears. A decibel is a unit that measures the intensity of sound. Sounds that humans can hear are measured on a scale from zero to 140. A normal conversation is about 60 dB. Chainsaws, hammer drills, and bulldozers ring in at over 100 dB. So if you are a construction worker, harmful sounds may be a regular part of your job. The same goes for people working around lawn mowers and factory machinery every day. Airport workers and farmers are two more groups that are regularly exposed to loud noise. However, loud noise does not have to be an everyday happening to cause damage. One-time exposure to very loud noises, such as the sound of a gun firing at close range, can harm your ears permanently.

See the How Loud Is Too Loud bookmark.

How can I protect my hearing in noisy situations?

Wear ear plugs or special earmuffs when you are exposed to dangerous levels of noise; they can keep your hearing from being damaged. Hearing protection is important any time you're exposed to loud noise.

Where can I buy hearing protection devices?

Several types of protective earplugs and earmuffs are available in most pharmacies, hardware stores, and sporting goods stores.

What should I tell others about hearing protection?

You can share what you know about NIHL with your family, friends, classmates, and co-workers. If you have children, explain to them that hearing is delicate and important. Call their attention to sounds that are harmful. Encourage them to protect their ears by avoiding loud noises or using special earmuffs. If they are too young to protect themselves, do it for them. For your co-workers and other family members, make a copy of this flyer and share what you know about NIHL.

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