logo

Can you HEAR your EARS cry for help?

logo
Can you HEAR your EARS cry for help?

When it comes to my ears, I’m a total nerd and hyper aware of noise.  In a kickboxing class, everyone else is rocking out while I’m looking for my earplugs.  I always carry either earplugs or tissues to stuff in my ear because you never know when you will need them.

Here’s the thing. Hearing is a sense that often doesn’t come back once it’s lost or damaged. Damage for most of us happens over time, so we don’t even realize how it going.

There are basically three types of hearing loss:

  • Conductive Hearing Loss (damage to the outer and middle ear)
  • Sensorineural Hearing Loss (damage to the inner ear)
  • Mixed Hearing Loss (both conductive and sensorineural)

Damage to the outer and middle ear come from mostly illnesses and infections and if the damage is severe, it can usually be corrected by surgery.  Damage to the inner ear can come from illnesses, drugs, head trauma or genetics, but also from loud noises.  This is what I’m talking about and is often called NIHL (noise induced hearing loss).  As in….we’re doing it to ourselves.

Here’s the awful thing…in that kickboxing class, those who are rocking out might not realize it’s really loud because their ears are already damaged…what is LOUD to me is NORMAL to them.

WHEN NOISE IS 85 DECIBELS or ABOVE, PERMANENT DAMAGE CAN OCCUR. 

How loud is too loud, you ask? Here are some everyday sounds around you.

Painful41PVGtMWMGL._SX355_

  • 150 dB = fireworks at 3 feet
  • 140 dB = firearms, jet engine
  • 130 dB = jackhammer
  • 120 dB = jet plane takeoff, siren

Extremely Loud

  • 110 dB = maximum output of some MP3 players, model airplane, chain saw
  • 106 dB = gas lawn mower, snowblower
  • 100 dB = hand drill, pneumatic drill
  • 90 dB = subway, passing motorcycle

Very Loud

  • 80–90 dB = blow-dryer, kitchen blender, food processor
  • 70 dB = busy traffic, vacuum cleaner, alarm clock

Moderate

  • 60 dB = typical conversation, dishwasher, clothes dryer
  • 50 dB = moderate rainfall
  • 40 dB = quiet room

Faint

  • 30 dB = whisper, quiet library

I live in Los Angeles, so in my apartment, the DB is generally 45-50 in my apartment when I have nothing on.  As soon I turn on the TV or play music, the DB comes up to 60 or 65 DB (my TV is generally on 16 of 100 volume wise).

 The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) guidelines are stated in terms of the maximum time that you can safely be exposed to different decibel levels.  Generally 75 to 80 DB is considered safe

  • 85 dB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 8 hours
  • 88 dB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . 4 hours
  • 91 dB. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 hours
  • 94 dB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 1 hour
  • 97 dB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 minutes
  • 100 dB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 minutes
  • 103 dB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  7-1/2 minutes
  • 106 dB . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3-3/4 minutes

These settings are notorious for loud music and a loud atmosphere:

  • Gym Classes
  • Movie Theaters
  • Concerts
  • Parties
  • Bars
  • Your Headphones
  • Your TV

How can I tell if I am listening to dangerous noise levels?

  • You must raise your voice to be heard.
  • You can’t hear someone 3 feet away from you.
  • Speech around you sounds muffled or dull after you leave the noisy area.
  • You have pain or ringing in your ears (this is called “tinnitus”) after exposure to noise.

What do you do?  Well don’t freak out, but here are a few tips….  

  • Be aware of the sound around you
  • Walk away from loud noises.
  • Turn down the volume.
  • Limit the intensity of the noise by not standing directly near its source.
  • Limit the time you expose your ears to loud noises.
  • Wear earplugs when you’re around sounds of 85 dB and above. (Disposable foam earplugs are inexpensive, easy to insert and effective.)
  • Turn down your CD/MP3 player or car stereo system.
  • Cross the street when you hear someone operating a leaf blower.
  • Wear earplugs at concerts/go to the back of the nightclub or outside to give your ears a break.
  • Cover your ears with your hands when you’re walking past a jackhammer.

 

logo
logo