Noise is all around you, from televisions and radios to lawn mowers and washing machines. Normally, you hear these sounds at safe levels that don't affect hearing. But sounds that are too loud or loud sounds over a long time are harmful. They can damage sensitive structures of the inner ear and cause noise-induced hearing loss.
More than 30 million Americans are exposed to hazardous sound levels on a regular basis. Hazardous sound levels are louder than 80 decibels. That's not as loud as traffic on a busy street. Listening to loud music, especially on headphones, is a common cause of noise-induced hearing loss. You can protect your hearing by
- Keeping the volume down when listening to music
- Wearing earplugs when using loud equipment
NIH: National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
- Hearing: Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- Listen Up! Noises Can Damage Your Hearing (National Institutes of Health)
- Noise Pollution (Environmental Protection Agency)
- Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders) Also in Spanish
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Noise and Hearing Protection (American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery)
- Occupational Noise Exposure (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
Statistics and Research
- Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention: Facts and Statistics (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Too Loud! For Too Long! (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Noise (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Impairments of Inner Ears Caused by Physical Environmental Stresses.
- Article: High prevalence of noise following Delta ceramic-on-ceramic total hip arthroplasty.
- Article: "Knuckle Cracking": Can Blinded Observers Detect Changes with Physical Examination...
- Noise -- see more articles
- Noise induced hearing loss -- see more articles
- How the Ear Works (American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery)
- Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)