What a noisy world we live in. Did you know that sound levels above 120 dB (decibels) cause damage to hearing? How loud is that you ask?
Well, fireworks can be up to 162 dB, a jet plane is 140 dB and a power drill is 130 dB.
Rock concerts have been measured at 126 dB at the back of the hall and a staggering 150 dB in front of the speakers!
Do you like action movies in theaters? Some are set at 90 dB for most of the movie with occasional blasts up to 120 dB. Yes it is a noisy world we live in.
But, it is not just the level of the noise we have to be concerned about. It is the length of time of exposure. Occupational health indicates that people should not be exposed to any more than 80 dB for an 8 hour shift. Hearing protection is required for levels above that.
How do you know if you have been exposed to too much noise? Some people will experience temporary hearing loss the day after a rock concert, for example. This is called temporary threshold shift and usually hearing will recover to almost preconcert levels. Tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears or head) is another sign of excessive noise exposure. Sometimes the damage doesn’t show up for years.
Audiologists recommend using hearing protection whenever you are exposed to loud noises such as lawn mowers and power tools. If in doubt, grab those muffs or plugs!