Am Fam Physician. 2000 May 1;61(9):2759-2760.
What is noise-induced hearing loss?
Noise-induced hearing loss is the slow loss of hearing caused by too much noise. Hearing loss happens when too much noise hurts the hair cells in the inner ear.
Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common causes of nerve deafness. As many as 10 million Americans have this kind of hearing problem.
Noise-induced hearing loss lasts forever. Hearing aids can help, but they can't fully correct it.
This kind of hearing loss can be prevented by staying away from loud and long noises.
How do I know if noise could be hurting my ears?
You may be exposed, at work or through hobbies, to noise that hurts your
hearing. If you have to shout when you talk to a coworker who is standing next to you, the noise level at your workplace may be hurting your ears.
Both the loudness of sound (called the intensity) and the amount of time you hear the noise are important. Sound is measured in decibels. Eight hours of hearing noise at 85 decibels could hurt your hearing. At higher sound levels, you could lose hearing in even less time.
Workplaces where sound levels are an average of 85 decibels or higher average for more than eight hours must have programs to save the hearing of workers. These workplaces must give free hearing protection devices to workers.
Common Noises That Might Hurt Your Ears Include: