Hearing loss is increasingly more common as we age, affecting one in three over 65 and half of all over 75. While age related hearing loss is by far the most common cause of hearing loss, it is no way exclusive to this demographic. Many younger people believe they are lucky enough not to have to experience hearing loss. In truth no one is free of the risk, especially due to the risk of noise – increasingly common in our daily lives
An Increasingly Loud World
Due to industrialization and access to more media than ever before from across the globe, we are exposed to more sound information than ever before. Its hard to find a truly quiet place in this day and age. Even in some of the most remote place’s aircrafts can fly overhead and distant highways pierce through the serene of the forest, mountains, and plains. The volume, or loudness of sound is measured in decibels an any decibel 85 dBA or higher has the potential to damage your hearing, depending on the length of exposure. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that any sound over 70 dBA can cause chronic stress on the body when exposed for 24 hours or more. This makes noise pollution one of the greatest risks to us as a society- causing chronic anxiety, hypertension, and increased risk of heart attack.
How Loud Is Too Loud?
While noise pollution is a serious issue, it is not a direct cause of hearing loss. To cause hearing a sound must surpass 85 dBA or higher. It’s not just the volume however, but the length of exposure. 85 dBA starts to permanently impact hearing after 8 hours of constant exposure. But as the decibel level increases the time it takes for damage to occur quickly decreases. You may be surprised what sounds in your daily life may be causing hearing loss that could last a lifetime.
Many of us love the thrill of being emersed in live music surrounded in a crowd of people all enjoying the same tones and music simultaneously. There is truly nothing like it, however, it’s important to be aware of the potential risk to your hearing. Live concerts have the potential to emit sounds ranging from 110 to 130 decibels. This isn’t just for electronic and amplified music but for less obvious acoustic sources such as classical music concerts. Next time you treat yourself to live music, come prepared with hearing protection, which can reduce the decibel level by 15 -33 dBA, depending on the model.
Similar to concerts, athletic events such as baseball and football games can emit noises ranging from 90 to 140 decibels. It can be exhilarating to be surrounded by the roar of a crowd; however, this can have a serious impact if you go without using haring protection. To put it in perspective the loudest sports game ever recorded was a 2014 Kansas City Chiefs game which reached 142.2 decibels!
It’s an empowering experience to learn to fix your home projects on your own. This won’t only improve your skills and know-how but can save quite a lot of money as well. However, as with any project, it’s best to be prepared with the appropriate safety protocol. It’s mostly standard to use power tools for home renovations for faster and more precise results. However, table saws, circular saws, power drills and more can reach decibel levels ranging from 90 to 112 decibels. Make sure you add hearing protection to your gear when planning your next DIY home project.
Gas-powered lawn equipment
One joy of being a homeowner is getting outside and maintaining your yard. You can enjoy being outside in many seasons and get your steps in at the same time! However, if you are using gas-powered lawn equipment, such as mowers and blowers, they can emit noises ranging from 80 to 100 decibels. This can become intensified if you choose to listen to music as well – which will inevitably have to be cranked up louder than your power equipment in order to hear.
Music from earbuds or headphones
While we are on the subject, earbuds or headphones are perhaps the most common cause of hearing damage across generations. With seemingly unending amounts of media to consume being streaming infinitely, there is the potential to listen to your headphones at dBA as loud as 110 decibels. This is loud enough to affect your hearing in under 15 minuets; however, people listen for hours at a time. Take breaks and be sure to lower your volume.