When employees show up to work where hearing protection is required, it’s expected that they will be exposed to an environment that has harmful noise levels, otherwise, the hearing protection equipment wouldn’t be necessary. But what about outside of work? Often, people don’t realize how harmful certain day-to-day noises can be to their hearing.
October is “National Protect Your Hearing Month” and here at Center for Industrial Audiometrics, we’re discussing why protecting your hearing both on the job and at home is crucial for maintaining healthy hearing.
Work v. Home
After a full day of wearing hearing protection in a noisy work environment, it may feel like a breath of fresh air to not have to worry about noise anymore. However, many environments can emit harmful noise levels that not might be obvious.
Speaking in technical terms, sounds at or below 70 decibels (dBA) are usually considered safe. Some common sounds that are at or below 70 dBA include a whisper (30 dBA), light traffic (50 dBA) and normal conversations (60-70 dBA). Noises at or above 85 dBA are often considered harmful depending on the amount of exposure. Below are a few examples that might surprise people:
85 dBA – Exposure for 8 hours can cause hearing damage
- Movie theatre: 74-104 dBA
- Squeeze toy: 90 dBA
100 dBA – Exposure for 14 minutes can cause hearing damage
- Headphones, concerts, and sporting events: 94-110 dBA
- Motorcycle: 80-110 dBA
110 dBA – Exposure for 2 minutes can cause hearing damage
- Ambulance sirens: 110-129 dBA
- A jet taking off: 140 dBA
- Firework show: 140-160 dBA
Protecting your hearing at home
Although home does not require people to wear hearing protection like a place of work might, lowering the volume, moving away from the noise, and wearing hearing protection are great preventative measures to implement. Learning to recognize potentially harmful noise levels and knowing how to protect against them can lead to hearing health longevity.
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