In some work environments, workers are exposed to noise that is too loud for too long. This can lead to noise-induced hearing loss, which is caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises.
This is something that could be prevented if only you wore the right type of ear protection. The right kind of ear protection will be able to block out the noise as well as allow you to hear other people in the area.
What’s Too Loud for Human Ears?
The noise level is measured in decibels (dB). You can calculate the dB by finding the log to the base ten of the ratio between a given sound pressure and a reference pressure of 20 micro pascals.
When a sound has a dB level of 85 or more, it could result in hearing loss with extended exposure. The louder the noise, the shorter your period of exposure can be before you start hearing damage. For example, if you’re standing next to a lawn mower that’s running at a high setting, you should not stand there for more than a few minutes.
This is because the sound levels can be 100 dB for a lawnmower running at the highest setting. That’s 10 times louder than the 85 dB limit. If you stood there for five minutes, you would probably experience some hearing damage. Therefore, it’s very important that you protect your ears with earmuffs or earplugs.
Measuring What’s Too Loud: Different Examples
Now that you know the dB levels, let’s look at real-world examples to see what’s too loud for humans to be exposed to.
- 30 dB: This is the volume level of a normal human conversation.
- 80 – 85 dB: This is a busy sidewalk, city traffic, or an air conditioner.
- 90 – 95 dB: This is the sound level of a motorcycle, which can harm your hearing if exposed for 50 minutes.
- 100 dB: This is the sound level of an oncoming subway train or a sports event. If you stood there for 30 minutes, your ears would start to hurt.
- 110 dB: This is the sound level of the highest volume your phone can go, which can compromise your hearing in as little as five minutes of exposure.
- 120 dB and over: This is the sound level where hearing damage begins to occur. It’s the sound level of a rock concert, jet engine, and an exploding firecracker. If you’re in at this level for more than a few seconds, your ears will start to ring.
The Bottom Line: The Importance of Protecting Your Hearing in a Loud Workplace
Wearing earplugs and earmuffs together is the most effective way to protect yourself in the workplace. The earmuffs will fit tightly around your ears which will help you hear better. You’ll be able to hear what people are saying to you while at the same time protecting your ears from the loud noise.
Many workplaces require workers to wear ear protection. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that workers who are exposed to loud sounds wear some type of ear protection. This includes construction workers, factory workers, and even musicians.
If your workplace does not require this type of ear protection, you should still consider buying some for yourself. It will protect your hearing in the long run. You will also find that ear protection is cost-effective as it will help you avoid expensive hearing aids and repairs in the future.
How Can We Help You?
Hear More Associates is the country’s most trusted hearing care specialist. We provide care to patients throughout Lexington, Greater Boston, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. From hearing tests to hearing aids, we got you covered! If you’re looking for a hearing care solution, reach out to us today!