We call it acoustic trauma or noise-induced hearing loss. By any name, itâ€™s the most important preventable cause of permanent hearing loss. Up to 28 million Americans have impaired hearing.
Acoustic trauma is a product of modern life. On the job noise exposure is the most common cause, but recreational noiseâ€”such as loud music is catching up.
A soundâ€™s potential to damage the ear depends on the duration as well as the intensity of the sound.
Sounds below 75 decibels (dB) are safe, but eight hours at 85 dB can be harmful. For exemple, the sound of a lawnmower or heavy traffic is approximately 90 decibels.
Some sound advice: First and foremost, turn down the volume. For occasional exposures, use disposable ear plugs. If youâ€™re frequently at risk, invest in custom-fitted ear plugs. And for maximum protection, add acoustic earmuffs.