There are many causes and risk factors that can lead to hearing loss. However, one of the most common of all, especially in younger people, is that of exposure to excessive levels of noise. It might be a surprise that so many common everyday activities could be damaging your hearing over time, but it’s a risk that’s well worth being aware of, especially if you already have some degree of hearing loss and don’t want to exacerbate it.

Here are just some of the everyday activities that can harm your hearing, and what you should do about them.

When does noise become dangerous?

There is a plethora of examples of everyday activities that can harm your hearing, from your home life to activities at work to your hobbies. However, it’s best to know the precise moment that noise becomes harmful. Sound is measured in units called decibels (dB), and the most frequently used baseline is that 75dB is roughly the sound level of a busy street.

Sounds of 85dB and higher typically start to cause damage to your hearing. The longer the exposure or the louder the noise, the worse the damage. For instance, 85dB typically only does damage after roughly eight hours of exposure. At 95dB, you can only withstand an hour of it before damage is done. Any noises over 120dB causes hearing loss in seconds, and over 130dB, hearing loss is instant and typically comes with physical pain.

Now that we have an idea of what levels of noise are dangerous, what are some of the everyday sounds that fall into those parameters?

Listening through earphones and headphones

Devices like smartphones, tablets and PCs can be connected to through your earphones and headphones, but you should be wary of just how much you turn the volume up when you’re plugged in. Most modern listening devices can be turned up to around 105dB at their max volume. As such, it’s recommended you don’t turn them up this high for any more than ten minutes. You should be wary of turning the TV or speakers up too high, too.

Public entertainment

If you’re going out to a nightclub or a concert, you might want to consider wearing some form of hearing protection, as these events can typically reach up to 100 dB in noise levels. Sports stadiums can be even higher, especially if you’re attending motorsports, which can reach levels of 130dB.

Using power tools

You might only be doing a little bit of DIY in your garage, but you could be doing a lot more to your hearing if you’re not careful. Even smaller running power tools, such as handheld drills and saws, typically create noises of levels over 100dB, which means you should be wearing earmuffs while using them at the very least, alongside your other protective gear.

The traffic of a city

City traffic typically causes levels of noise between 80 and 90dB. That level of noise takes hours to cause any type of damage to your hearing, meaning it won’t affect most commuters. However, if you work in an area that is consistently exposed to traffic, then it might be time to consider equipping yourself with some hearing protection.

Hunting, shooting and fireworks

These explosive activities, which are often parts of hobbies or special events, can cause instantaneous damage to your hearing if you’re not careful. Depending on your proximity, you could be immediately exposed to sound levels of 160dB, which is enough to cause physical pain and immediate hearing loss. As such, you should never light fireworks or go to the gun range without access to the necessary hearing protection at your disposal.

How do you protect your hearing?

If you want to make sure that the everyday activities above, or any others that might be just as loud, don’t harm your hearing, then it’s best to seek out the help and advice of an audiologist. These specialists in all things hearing, ear and balance health related can provide a wealth of advice on how to protect your hearing, as well as fitting you with custom-made reusable earplugs.

To learn more about what your audiologist can do for you, you can get in touch with the team at Baker Audiology & Hearing Aids by calling us today at (605) 610-3466. We will be here to answer any questions we can and, if you want, arrange an appointment with your audiologist.