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How to Spot Those Dangerous Decibels

dangerous decibels

When you go to a concert and see the band come onstage, it’s easy to be carried away by the excitement as the music begins!  Beware if your ears ring for a day or two afterwards.  This is a classic sign that the loudness of the music, at around 120 to 130 decibels, had reached dangerous levels.

Decibels are a measure of loudness. Once the sound level is 85 decibels it can be dangerous to your hearing.

Other noises that we encounter more often, like the drone of a motorcycle or a lawn mower, are also too loud, at 90 to 100 decibels.  Even the bothersome rumble of heavy traffic or the chattering clatter of a really loud restaurant can be 80 to 89 decibels.

Since you probably don’t have a decibel meter handy, how can you tell when noise is too loud? Physical pain when you hear the sound is one obvious indication.  Other relatively obvious indications are if your ears are ringing afterward, or if the noise interferes with your ability to hold a conversation.  One indication that may be more difficult to notice is if everything around you seems muted after the sound goes away.

How dangerous those sound levels are depends on how often you’re exposed to them.  For instance, if you only run a lawn mower once a month, then your hearing is most likely safe.  If you run lawnmowers every day, as part of your job, then investing in a pair of ear muffs or ear plugs may be a good idea.  Remember hearing loss from noise is cumulative. Protect your hearing. Once you lose your hearing you never get it back.

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