Sound Advice

Inside your ear are thousands of tiny hair cells that help you hear. Over time, loud noise can damage those cells. They cannot be repaired, whether a result of a roaring burst of sound or years of repeated exposure. If there's so much noise around you that you need to raise your voice when just a few feet away from someone, it's likely hurting your hearing. Sounds are measured in decibels. Sounds at or below 70 decibels are considered generally safe. Normal conversation is about 60 to 70 decibels. A single loud or long noise or repeated exposure to sounds at or exceeding 85 decibels can cause hearing loss or other hearing issues like tinnitus. Sources of loud noise include lawnmowers (80-110 decibels), an approaching subway train (100 decibels), live entertainment venues, such as a baseball game or concert, or listening to music on headphones at a maximum volume (95-115 decibels), and a siren (110-129 decibels). Approximately 37.5 million American adults aged 18 and older report some trouble hearing, and the risk increases as we age. Here are some things to consider to preserve your hearing.