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Hearing plays a significant role in allowing you to connect with the important people and places in your life. If you work in an at-risk occupation, check with your employer to make sure you have adequately protected your hearing according to government regulations. Wear headphones or earplugs if you use noisy equipment such as drills, lawnmowers, or leaf blowers. Exposure to loud sounds, such as working in an industrial setting, listening to loud music, or hearing explosives or gunfire, can result in hearing loss.
Sounds louder than 80 dB are considered potentially hazardous to your hearing if you are exposed to them for any length of time.


If you experience ear pain, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), or a feeling of muffled hearing after exposure to loud sounds, your hearing sensitivity has temporarily been impaired (Center for Hearing and Communication). The sound chart below helps you to understand what sounds occur at different frequencies and intensities.
While most of these sounds are comfortable, some loud sounds can be painful and cause damage to your hearing. Although these symptoms will typically resolve themselves after 12-14 hours, a part of your auditory nervous system has been damaged (Kujawa & Liberman, 2009). Non-auditory effects of noise include sleep disturbance, high blood pressure, poorer task performance in adults, and poorer cognitive performance in children (Basner, Babisch, Davis, Brink, Clark, Janssen, & Stansfeld, 2013).


The “noise thermometer” on the right illustrates the intensity (in decibels, dB) of common sounds, from humming appliances to fireworks and firearms .



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