Reducing your exposure to loud noise is the best thing you can do to prevent hearing loss. According to experts, prolonged exposure to any sort of noise over 85 decibels can result in permanent damage to your hearing. Basically, this means that anything louder than a lawnmower has the potential to cause hearing loss over time.
Naturally, the louder a sound is, the more quickly it can damage your hearing. For example, a gunshot, at 140 decibels, can cause immediate damage to your ears. Yet you can withstand the 95-decibel noise from a motorcycle for about 4 hours before permanent hearing damage starts to occur.
Tips for Hearing Loss Prevention
Once hearing loss occurs, it is often permanent. That’s why it’s so important to preserve the hearing you have by following these tips for hearing loss prevention.
- Always wear ear protection when firing a weapon, riding a motorcycle, jetski, or snowmobile, or operating machinery like jackhammers, lawn mowers, or chainsaws.
- Bring earplugs to rock concerts—just 7 minutes at your average rock show can start damaging your hearing.
- Pass out earplugs at the family Fourth of July celebration—firecrackers go off at 125 decibels.
- Don’t blast your car stereo on the highway. The radio might not seem loud over all the noise from the wind and the engine, but it is loud enough to hurt you over time.
- Be careful when using headphones, especially earbuds.
- Don’t make your own earplugs out of cotton balls. It can push wax down onto your eardrums.
- Don’t clean your ears with a towel or your fingers, as these can also push wax onto your eardrums.