Loud sounds and noises can damage your hearing.

How loud the sound is, how long you are exposed to loud sound, how often you are exposed to loud sounds, and individual risk factors of susceptibility impact your risk of hearing damage. 


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How long and at what volume can you listen before your ears are at risk?


Hearing loss is mostly a hidden condition. While public awareness and recognition of hearing loss is improving, acceptance remains limits. Hearing loss is a growing health concern that substantially impacts people's overall well-being. 

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have suggested a damage-risk criteria as a basis for recommending noise exposure limits based on noise level and exposure time. NIOSH recommends an exposure limit of 85 dBA for 8 hours per day, and uses a 3 dB exchange rate (for every 3 dB decrease in noise level, the allowable exposure time is doubled). NIOSH recommendations are based on occupational noise exposure. NIOSH recommendations have been shown to protect 92% of the population. (Resource:

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Hearing loss


Loud sound exposure


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Some Signs You May Have Hearing Loss

  • Difficulty understanding speech when there is background noise
  • You have buzzing, ringing, or other noises in one or both ears
  • You feel like a lot of people mumble
  • You have a history of noise exposure
  • ​In order to hear, you turn the volume up louder than those around you need to have it
  • ​You say things like "huh" or "what" a lot
  • ​You avoid social activities and situations because you find it difficult to communicate

How You Hear

Acoustic signals, or sound waves, enter the auditory system through the outer ear, funneled by the pinna (the external part of the ear) and external ear canal. This funneling causes a resonance which boosts energy in the high frequencies, about 2000-3000 Hz.  The sound waves reach and vibrate the eardrum, or tympanic membrane, which in turn vibrates the middle ear bones, or ossicles, which amplify the vibrations and carry them to the inner ear. The inner ear, or specifically the cochlea, is a fluid-filled chamber. Vibration from the middle ear to the inner ear causes motion in the inner ear fluid. The cochlea contains rows of microscopic sensory cells, called hair cells, that are stimulated by the movement of the fluid which results in a chemical change that produces nerve impulses. The nerve impulses are carried along the hearing nerve to the brain, where they are interpreted as sound. 

Your Hearing

Sound levels are measured in decibels (dB). The higher the decibel level, the louder the sound.