Everyday Things That Can Harm Your Hearing

girl wearing headphones and dancing
Everyday things that can harm hearing
4 min read

Hearing Loss Solutions at Elite Hearing Centers of America

With so many people at risk for noise-induced hearing loss during daily activities, Elite Hearing Centers of America in FL, GA, WI, NC, and SC are committed to helping individuals protect themselves against this common condition. Hearing loss is a significant issue that affects millions of people worldwide. Some causes of it are unavoidable, but loss due to loud noise can be prevented. You may not realize how many situations you encounter in your day-to-day life that can be potentially harmful, but knowing the threshold of safe noise levels, recognizing when they become dangerous, and finding ways to protect your hearing can keep you safe as these situations arise.

What Causes Hearing Loss?

There are three primary types of hearing loss, and a hearing test will determine which type a person has.
  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss - This is the most common type and occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea) or the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Most of the time, sensorineural hearing loss cannot be medically or surgically corrected, but hearing aids can improve a person's hearing ability.
  • Conductive Hearing Loss - In these cases, sound is not conducted efficiently through the outer ear canal to the eardrum and the tiny bones of the middle ear. The cause is usually a blockage, infection, or growth that can often be corrected medically or surgically.
  • Mixed Hearing Loss - This is a combination of conductive and sensorineural hearing loss, which means there may be damage in the outer or middle ear and the inner ear or auditory nerve.

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Noise-induced loss is a type of sensorineural hearing loss that occurs when our hair cells in the inner ear are damaged by exposure to loud noises. Whether the damage is slight or significant, the condition is irreversible, but hearing can be improved with the right hearing aids. The amount of damage depends on the intensity and duration of exposure. Any noise level that exceeds 85 decibels (dB) is considered dangerous. However, even levels of 80-85 dB can cause hearing damage if exposure is for eight hours or more. At 100 dB, damage can set in at 15 minutes. Most people don't think of noise in dB levels, so here are examples of everyday situations that are typically louder than 85 dB.

City Traffic 80-85 dB

Whether sitting in it or trying to cross the street as a pedestrian, city traffic can be annoying, but it's also dangerous to our ears. It hovers around the safe threshold, but add some honking horns and a long commute, and many drivers soon realize they're exposed to loud noise for an extended period.

Gas-Powered Landscaping Equipment 85-100 dB

Mowing the lawn or cleaning up leaves involves gas-powered equipment like lawnmowers and leaf blowers that create a lot of noise. Operators should wear hearing protection while using them, especially if that's your occupation and you use the tools all day. Remember, you don't have to be the one using the equipment to be at risk. Just being in the area can be hazardous to your hearing.

Woodworking and Power Tools 90-112 dB

You may enjoy crafting at home or completing DIY renovation projects but remember that the tools used in these hobbies and professions are dangerous to your ears. Even using a circular saw for about one minute can cause hearing loss.

Listening to Music with Earbuds 110 dB

Look around today, and just about everyone has a pair of earbuds in while they're out for a jog, riding public transit, or even walking the aisles of the grocery store. Most of these listening devices have a max volume of 110 dB, but that's too loud. If the person next to you can hear it, it's not safe. Try to stay below 60% of the device's max volume.

Sporting Events 90-140 dB

Depending on the level of play and the size of the crowd, sporting events can be causes of hearing loss. College and pro sports are usually in this category. Baseball games average 94 dB, while some high-stakes NFL games can be in the 130-140 dB range. These levels are especially dangerous for younger audience members.

Live Music Concerts 110-130 dB

Most musicians now know enough to wear ear protection while on stage, but that advice should be followed by concert attendees too. Indoor venues, where the sound reverberates off the walls, floor, and ceilings, are hazardous, but you must protect your ears at outdoor venues too.

Target Shooting and Hunting 140-175 dB

Gunshot blasts are well above the safe range, and just one can cause permanent damage. The noise level depends on the type of gun fired, but some experts suggest wearing over-the-ear protection and earplugs underneath when firing any gun recreationally.

Symptoms of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Noise-induced hearing loss can manifest in various ways, and symptoms often develop gradually over time. Here are some common indicators you may be experiencing hearing damage:
  • Ringing, buzzing, or hissing sounds in the ears known as tinnitus
  • Difficulty understanding speech, particularly in noisy environments
  • Muffled hearing
  • Difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds

Schedule a Free Hearing Test

Hearing loss is a prevalent issue we're committed to helping people navigate at Elite Hearing Centers of America in Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Understanding safe noise levels can protect your ears from harm in everyday situations, and investing in ear protection can minimize unnecessary noise exposure. If you have symptoms of hearing loss, locate one of our hearing care centers near you and schedule a free hearing test.

Schedule Appointment

Contact us today to set up an appointment with a hearing specialist to discuss your hearing health