Are you exposed to loud noise?
Damage prevention is the best way to care for your hearing. We can help you avoid future problems.
Are you exposed to loud noise?
Damage prevention is the best way to care for your hearing.
We can help you avoid future problems.
We can provide custom-made or off the shelf protection for musicians, professionals & all sports, helping you to protect your precious hearing.
There are also steps you can take to protect your hearing today. Hearing loss due to exposure to loud noise is completely avoidable. Here are some simple things you can do to help stop loud noises from permanently damaging your hearing, no matter how old you are:
1. Avoid loud noises:
The best way to avoid noise-induced hearing loss is to keep away from loud noise as much as you can. Generally, a noise is probably loud enough to damage your hearing if:
- you have to raise your voice to talk to other people
- you can’t hear what people nearby are saying
- it hurts your ears
- you have ringing in your ears or muffled hearing afterwards
Noise levels are measured in decibels (dB): the higher the number, the louder the noise. Any sound over 85dB can be harmful, especially if you’re exposed to it for a long time. To get an idea of how loud this is:
- whispering – 30dB
- conversation – 60dB
- busy traffic – 70 to 85dB
- motorbike – 90dB
- listening to music on full volume through headphones – 100 to 110dB
- plane taking off – 120dB
You can get smartphone apps that measure noise levels, but make sure they’re set up (calibrated) properly to get a more accurate reading.
2. Take care when listening to music:
Listening to loud music through earphones and headphones is one of the biggest dangers to your hearing. To help avoid damaging your hearing:
- use noise-cancelling earphones or headphones – don’t just turn the volume up to cover up outside noise
- turn the volume up just enough so you can hear your music comfortably, but no higher
- don’t listen to music at more than 60% of the maximum volume – some devices have settings you can use to limit the volume automatically
- don’t use earphones or headphones for more than an hour at a time – take a break for at least 5 minutes every hour
Even just turning down the volume a little bit can make a big difference to your risk of hearing damage.
3. Protect your hearing during loud events and activities:
To protect your hearing during loud activities and events (such as at nightclubs, gigs or sports events):
- move away from sources of loud noises (such as loudspeakers)
- try to take a break from the noise every 15 minutes
- give your hearing about 18 hours to recover after exposure to lots of loud noise
- consider wearing earplugs – you can buy re-usable musicians’ earplugs that reduce the volume of music but don’t muffle it
4. Take precautions at work
If you’re exposed to loud noises through your work, speak to your human resources (HR) department or manager.
Your employer is obliged to make changes to reduce your exposure to loud noise – for example, by:
- switching to quieter equipment if possible
- making sure you’re not exposed to loud noise for long periods
- providing hearing protection, such as ear muffs or earplugs
5. Get your hearing tested
Get a hearing test as soon as possible if you’re worried you might be losing your hearing. The earlier hearing loss is picked up, the earlier something can be done about it. You might also want to consider having regular hearing checks
(once a year, say) if you’re at a higher risk of noise-induced hearing loss. For example, if you’re a musician or work in noisy environments.
6. Noise Dose Formula
The generally accepted standard to minimise hearing risk is based on an exposure to 85 dBA for a maximum limit of eight hours per day, followed by at least ten hours of recovery time at 70 dBA or lower (at which the risk of harm to healthy ears is negligible). Then a “3-dB exchange rate” formula is applied, which means that for every 3 dB above 85 dBA, the maximum exposure time is cut in half.
Noise levels above 140 dB are not considered safe for any period of time, however brief. For children, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends no exposure above 120 dB.
7. Historical footnote
At 10:02 a.m. on August 27, 1883 Krakatoa erupted with a sound that is, to date, considered the loudest sound ever, recorded at 310 decibels. For reference, the sound from the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were 248 decibels.
It is widely believed that anyone standing within 10 miles of the explosion would have been rendered instantly deaf. The eruption was loud enough that it was heard by residents of Perth, Australia, some 1,900 miles away, as well as residents of the island of Rodrigues which was 3,000 miles away.
Noise Dose Exposure Levels
|Noise Level (dBA)||Maximum Exposure Time per 24 Hours|
|130–140||less than 1 second|