Loud Noises Damage Hearing

Loud noises can cause permanent hearing loss. And once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. Hearing loss from loud noise can be prevented. About 70% of people exposed to loud noise never or seldom wear hearing protection. Learn what you need to do to protect your hearing.

October is “National Protect Your Hearing Month,” a time to raise awareness about what you need to do to protect your hearing.

Did You Know?

Repeated exposure to loud noise over the years can damage your hearing—long after exposure has stopped.

This is just one of the many informative facts available on CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health’s new hearing loss website.

Think you’re well aware of how to protect yourself? When it comes to hearing loss, we can all think of the usual suspects: listening to fireworks, attending sporting events, entertainment venues, and loud concerts.

However, you may be surprised at what you don’t know. For example, everyday activities such as using power tools, mowing the lawn, or attending a fitness class with loud music can damage hearing.

Useful Info

  • Is the noise too loud? If you need to shout to make yourself heard, yes.
  • After a very loud event, such as a concert or football game, normal hearing usually returns within a few hours to a few days—however, repeated exposure to loud noises will eventually damage the inner ear permanently.
  • Ways to protect your hearing include turning the volume down, of course, and also taking periodic breaks from the noise and using hearing protection, such as earplugs and hearing protection earmuffs.
  • Signs that you may have hearing loss include difficulty hearing high-pitched sounds (e.g., doorbell, telephone, alarm clock) and difficulty understanding conversations in a noisy place.

By the Numbers

Sound is measured in decibels (dB). A whisper is about 30 dB, normal conversation is about 60 dB, and a motorcycle engine is about 95 dB. Noise above 85 dB over a prolonged period of time may start to damage your hearing. Loud noise above 120 dB can cause immediate harm.

Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health condition in the United States. Almost twice as many people report hearing loss as report diabetes or cancer. In the United States, about 40 million adults aged 20–69 years have noise-induced hearing loss, and about 1 in 4 adults who report “excellent to good” hearing already have hearing damage.

Think that hearing damage is usually workplace-related? Actually, activities away from work can damage hearing just as much as a noisy job. Over half of all adults with hearing damage do not have noisy jobs.

The average person is born with about 16,000 hair cells within their inner ear. These cells allow your brain to detect sounds.

There is no treatment for hearing loss! Damaged inner ear cells do not grow back. So, protect your hearing, and if you already have hearing loss, take steps to keep it from getting worse.

Attribution:

Content provided and maintained by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC).
URL:https://www.cdc.gov/features/hearing-damage/index.html 
Publication Date: 10/1/2018
Last Updated:  10/1/2018