earSmart Hearing Center
earSmart Hearing Center
3149 West Sylvania Avenue
ToledoOH 43613
 (419) 473-1456

How Loud Is LOUD?

How Loud Is LOUD?

Your parents warned you that listening to loud music could cause hearing loss. Yet, they sent you outside to mow the yard with no ear protection. As an adult, the sound of a baby’s cry seems to make your ear’s ring – is it all in your head? No it isn’t. As a matter of fact, listening to that baby cry could put you at a higher risk of hearing loss than running a chainsaw for two hours.

A World of Noise

We live in a world of noise. From traffic to cell phones, to even non-stop conversation, few of us ever experience true silence. Ahh, how we crave quiet. Yet all we seem to hear is noise. In a world full of sound, it is no wonder that the need for a hearing aid is on the rise. It has been estimated that nearly 40 million American adults suffer from some degree of hearing loss. So what’s the cause? While you may think it is all that noise, it really isn’t the noise that is the problem; it is the decibel levels.

What Are Decibels?

Decibels (dB) measure the intensity of sound. The higher the decibel, the more dangerous that sound can be to your hearing. Expose yourself to high decibels for too long, and your hearing will suffer. 

How Much is Too Much?

Decibels range from 0 (the quietest room on earth) to 180 (a rocket launch). Of course, most sounds fall somewhere in between. Still, you may be surprised at how low decibel levels can be before it affects your hearing. Take that baby crying. You thought it was just unnerving. Well, it can also be dangerous – to your hearing, that is. Listen to a baby’s shrill cry for just 15 minutes and you could risk permanent hearing loss. At 115 decibels, that cry is at the same level as a noisy jet ski. To put it in even more perspective, a baby’s cry comes in at about 115 dB, while a Led Zeppelin concert records at 130 dB – that is only a 15 decibel difference!

To put it in even more perspective, a baby’s cry comes in at about 115 dB, while a Led Zeppelin concert records at 130 dB – that is only a 30-decibel difference!

Most experts agree that any sound over 85 dB can put you at risk for hearing loss. So be sure to wear protective noise filters or noise canceling headphones when exposed for more than 15-30 minutes to such sounds.

What Sounds Should I Watch Out For?

You might be surprised at how noisy your surroundings really are. For instance, a quiet room still registers at 40 decibels, while a lawnmower measures 90 dB. Most rock concerts come in at about 120 dB, compared to an air raid siren — designed to grab your attention — comes in at 125 dB. Busy traffic equals the same decibel levels as a common vacuum cleaner (70 dB), while a jackhammer comes in at 105 dB. While your dishwasher may be annoying, it probably doesn’t put you at risk of hearing loss, since it registers about 60 dB during use.

You wouldn’t stand in front of a jet engine without earplugs, right? Then why would you stand through a four-hour rock concert without them? The fact is, both produce about the same decibel levels and both can severely impact your hearing.

Have questions about hearing loss? Contact Us!

Learn More

Want to learn more about everyday noises and how their decibels levels may impact your hearing? Contact Earsmart Hearing Center for a free hearing test and to speak with one of our knowledgeable hearing professionals. Whether you need a hearing device or not, it is always good to learn more about how sound can affect your hearing.


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