The eardrum is an incredible part of the body. This fragile bit of the ear sends signals via vibration to the brain, allowing us to perceive the noise all around us. But when the eardrum is damaged, those signals cannot properly travel to the brain. Our ability to not only hear, but to understand sound, is compromised. In severe cases, that ability may be stripped from us entirely.
You may be surprised by how little it takes to cause this kind of overwhelming damage. A sudden, loud noise can do it, but so can prolonged exposure to decibels that for shorter periods of time would be considered acceptable. That is why someone walking past or through a construction site won’t likely face damage to the ears, but the construction crew require protective gear over their ears.
Use this simple guide to decibel levels, so you know how much is too much, and what to do to protect your delicate ears from permanent problems.
According to health and safety regulations, 80 decibels and below are safe levels for exposure, day to day. So within these levels, you don’t require protective gear to ensure your ears remain healthy. An example of 80 db would be a garbage disposal.
Moderately Unsafe Levels
By the time you hit 85 decibels, you are starting to experience potential safety hazards. Regardless, exposure up to eight hours is permitted within this range. The time allowed goes all the way down to four hours once it hits 88 decibels, and two hours by 91 decibels. An example of this range would be a motorcycle, while standing with 25 feet.
Once you get into the 100 decibels level, you are only able to be within the noise safely for up to fifteen minutes before facing risks. That would be something like a jackhammer, if you were just walking by. What may shock you is that a standard concert is at 110 decibels, and the time suggested to be within those levels is between two and four minutes. Is it any wonder experts suggest earplugs?
Anything at 115 decibels or louder are considered high risk levels, and should be avoided. Though these loud noises are often unpredictable, such as thunderclaps. Hopefully, you won’t be exposed to sudden loud noises that cause damage to your ears.
Keep all of these levels in mind, so you don’t end up losing one of your most important senses.