Are there particular noise levels that will damage my hearing?

Many of the noises we are exposed to on a daily basis can contribute to hearing loss, so it’s vital we take action to prevent damage to our ears.

Those who work in certain industries including construction, engineering, food & drink and entertainment are especially at risk of developing Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) as they are surrounded by loud machinery, the constant hum of crowds and loud music for extended periods of time.

Any noises that are very loud and last for a long time can damage your hearing.

Here is an example of decibel levels:

  • 30dB – Quiet bedroom at night
  • 40dB – Quiet library
  • 60dB – Normal conversation
  • 75dB – Busy Street
  • 80dB –  Passing lorry
  • 85dB+ Any continued exposure to noise at this level will cause damage
  • 85dB – Lawn mower/heavy traffic:
  • 90dB – Forklift truck
  • 98dB  – Hand drill
  • 100dB – Motorcycle (riding)
  • 110dB – Rock Concert/Nightclub
  • 110 – 115dB – Maximum volume of an iPod
  • 120dB – Human threshold of discomfort
  • 120dB – Chainsaw/Ambulance Siren
  • 130 dB – Human Threshold of pain
  • 130dB – Jet engine

There are two factors that increase the risk of hearing loss: volume and length of exposure.

Any continued exposure to noises over 85 dB will cause damage to your hearing.

A sure sign that you have been exposed to noise that’s too loud is ringing in the ears, or a feeling like you have cotton wool in your ears. If you are finding that these symptoms are becoming commonplace throughout your day, arrange an appointment with one of our Hearing Aid Audiologists as you may be suffering from hearing loss.

An increase in decibel levels, however minor, can have serious consequences. If you are listening to your iPod at full volume all day, you may cause irreparable damage to your hearing – turning it down just a few notches can make a big difference. In addition, if you operate power tools without hearing protection, you are also at risk of damaging your hearing.

For more tips on how to avoid Noise Related Hearing Loss see our FAQ page on how to protect your hearing.