Sudden bursts of noise or exposure to noise levels exceeding 105 dB for just 15 minutes per week can cause permanent damage to your hearing. Exposure to levels of between 80 and 85 dB for several hours every day can equally cause hearing damage. Continued exposure to loud music can subsequently lead to noise induced hearing loss.
To give you a better idea of potentially dangerous noise levels, here are a few types of noise and their typical levels:
- Normal conversation 60 to 65 dB
- Busy streets 75 to 85 dB
- Heavy traffic or lawn mowers 85 dB
- Forklift trucks 90 dB
- Hand drills 98 dB
- Heavy lorries (at a distance of approximately seven metres) 95 to 100 dB
- Motorbikes 100 dB
- Cinema – big action scenes in some films regularly exceed 100 dB
- Car horns; disco or nightclub music 110 dB
- MP3 player (set on loud) 112 dB
- Chainsaws 115 to 120 dB
- Ambulance sirens; music at rock concerts 120 dB
Basically, any noise that makes a normal conversation (without shouting) within two metres of the source impossible could be damaging to your ears.
Dull hearing or ringing in the ears are signs that exposure to loud music for too long or at excessive levels may be causing damage, although these symptoms may not necessarily be present. Obviously, if loud music causes you pain, you should immediately either turn it down or walk away (leave the room, nightclub, etc). Another good way of avoiding damage is to follow the so-called 60:60 rule.
The 60:60 rule
The safest way to listen to music on your MP3 player is to listen at no more than 60 per cent of the player’s maximum volume setting for less than 60 minutes per day.
Noise at work
Avoiding excessive noise levels at work is often not that simple. Accidents at work can, for instance, result in sudden exposure to excessive noise levels. Working for prolonged periods in very noisy environments can also cause work induced hearing loss.
Employers and noise
Employers are required by law to protect workers against work injuries and medical conditions like industrial deafness by providing relevant safety equipment and training on how to use it correctly. Should your employer fail to provide you with ear protectors and you suffer work-related deafness as a result, you could be entitled to work injury compensation. Get in touch with Accident Advice Helpline on 0800 689 0500 for help.
Date Published: July 22, 2015
Author: Accident Advice