Noise is all around you, from televisions and radios to lawn mowers and washing machines. Normally, you hear these sounds at safe levels that don't affect hearing. But sounds that are too loud or loud sounds over a long time are harmful. They can damage sensitive structures of the inner ear and cause noise-induced hearing loss.
More than 30 million Americans are exposed to hazardous sound levels on a regular basis. Hazardous sound levels are louder than 80 decibels. That's not as loud as traffic on a busy street. Listening to loud music, especially on headphones, is a common cause of noise-induced hearing loss. You can protect your hearing by
- Keeping the volume down when listening to music
- Wearing earplugs when using loud equipment
NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
- Hearing: Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (American Academy of Family Physicians) Available in Spanish
- Listen Up! Noises Can Damage Your Hearing (National Institutes of Health)
- Noise Pollution (Environmental Protection Agency)
- Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders) Available in Spanish
- 1 in 8 U.S. Workers Has Some Hearing Loss: CDC (04/21/2016, HealthDay)
- Earplugs Help Prevent Hearing Loss Tied to Loud Concerts (04/07/2016, HealthDay)
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Noise and Hearing Protection (American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery)
Statistics and Research
- Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention: Facts and Statistics (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Noise (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Noise Levels in Surgical ICUs Are Consistently Above Recommended Standards.
- Article: Films show loud music interferes with smooth operation of theatres.
- Article: Promoting a perception of quietness on a telemetry unit.
- Noise -- see more articles
- Noise induced hearing loss -- see more articles
- How the Ear Works (American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery)
- Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)