We are surrounded by noise in nearly all areas of modern life. People do not like loud noises or intense sounds. Our ears are delicate and complex structures that are easily damaged. There is a strong connection between noise and hearing loss. We are exposed to noise at work, to traffic noise in the street and when we listen to music or go to night clubs or concerts where the volume is too loud.
Exposure to noise and high sound levels can result in a noise-induced hearing loss ((NIHL).
How many decibels are to loud?
A continuous noise level of 85 dB will result in hearing damage and either cause permanent or temporary hearing loss. This is the sound level of heavy road traffic. Compressed air hammers have a sound level of about 100 dB and rock concerts almost always reach 110-120 dB - the same sound intensity can easily be produced in headsets when you listen to your stereo. Not to mention the noise levels in many schools and kindergartens!
Noise exposure and intense sounds can cause two main types of hearing loss, namely temporary threshold shift and permanent threshold shift.
What is temporary threshold shift
Temporary threshold shift is mostly experienced as a temporary dullness in your hearing after exposure to loud noises. Your hearing will subsequently recover - depending on how loud the noises have been and how long you have been exposed to them.
What is permanent threshold shift
Permanent threshold shift is first experienced 48 hours after exposure to excessive noise.
Permanent threshold shift can occur if you have been regularly exposed to excessive noise for long periods of time. It can also occur if you are exposed to very high sound levels for a short period of time.
Exposure to noise and high sound levels can also result in Tinnitus - a constant sound in your ears or head.