Spring, Summer, Noise and Hearing Loss

Coming soon, warmer weather. Time to head outside and enjoy everything the great outdoors has to offer, BBQ’s, summer concerts, boating, baseball games and so much more. While we hope you enjoy these activities, we also want you to keep in mind that many of these activities involve exposure to high levels of noise. The more you listen to noise or loud sounds, the more likely you are to damage your hearing. And spring and summer have a fair share of loud noises.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency of the United States Department of Labour. OSHA sets legal limits on noise exposure in the workplace. OSHA uses dBA for measurement purposes. A dBA measurement has been adjusted to consider the varying sensitivity of the human ear to different frequencies of sound. Therefore, low and very high frequencies are given less weight than on the standard decibel scale.

To be on the safe side you shouldn’t exposure your ears to sounds in excess of 80dBA.  If you are exposed to sounds in excess of 80dBA, limit the amount of time you are exposed to the sound.  Better yet wear hearing protection when you know you’ll be in a noisy listening environment.

Below is a list of some sounds that can exceed 80dBA

  • Window Air Conditioner 85dBA
  • Lawn Mower 95dBA
  • ATV/Motorcycle 95-110dBA
  • Lawnmower 100dBA
  • Outdoor Concert 110-120dBA
  • Sporting Events 115-130dBA
  • Leaf Blower 115dBA
  • Stock Car Races 130dBA
  • Fireworks at 3 feet 150dBA

Too Loud for Too Long

The amount of time a noise can take to cause hearing loss depends on a number of factors, most notably the amount of exposure time by decibel level. The maximum exposure time per OSHA for unprotected ears per day is 8 hours at 85dBA. For each 3 dBA increase in volume, the maximum exposure time is cut in half. For example:

  • 88dBA sound can cause hearing loss in 4 hours
  • 94dBA sound can cause hearing loss in 1 hour
  • 100dBA sound can cause hearing loss in 15 minutes
  • 106dBA sound can cause hearing loss in <4 minutes

Plan ahead, if you know you’ll be attending an event or using a device that has the ability to damage your hearing bring along hearing protection.  We can point you in the right direction regarding hearing protection.  If you are unexpectedly exposed to excessive amounts of noise, distance is your friend.  The farther you distance yourself from the source of the noise the less likely you are to exceed a level that’s unsafe for your ears.

Enjoy the sounds of spring and summer. Just don’t let those sounds ruin your hearing.