Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Let’s talk briefly about noise-induced hearing loss. Hearing damage due to loud noise is about exposure. Exposure is a term that combines how loud a sound is multiplied by how long a person’s ears are exposed to the sound. Exposure is what determines how potentially-detrimental a noise can be to hearing. The chart below is taken from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Without going into too much detail on decibel mathematics, this results in a new level of 97-dB at your ear. But, what if, you are lighting a fire-cracker and it unexpected explodes only 2 feet from your ear? According to the inverse square law, the sound source is now 5 times closer, so the intensity is 25 times louder! At your ear, that sound pressure level might now be as high as 160-dBA and enough to cause instant hearing damage.
3 Rules to Help Prevent Hearing Loss
Limit Your Exposure to Loud Sounds. The louder a sound, the shorter the time we can safely be around it without permanently damaging our hearing. So, if a noise or environment is loud—think chainsaw, concert, music, equipment, etc.—limit your exposure time!
Maintain a Safe Distance from Loud Noises. The more distance you can put between your ear and a loud noise source the better. Get further away from a speaker at a concert. Don’t use power equipment close to your head/ears. Maintain a safe distance from machinery.
Use Hearing Protection. When in doubt, use hearing protection. Cheap, foam earplugs, when installed properly, decrease sound pressure levels 15-20-dB. If you were paying attention to my math earlier, that is lowering the sound intensity by a factor of 6-7 times. That is enough to protect your hearing from most any noise at least for short term exposure.
Think You May Be Experiencing Hearing Problems?
If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of hearing loss, call Advanced Hearing Solutions to schedule a consultation today. We will test and explain your hearing levels to help you better understand your individual hearing needs.