06 April 2010

Leisure time noise

Having a great time can be unsettling for your ears.

Recently, researchers found that you risk your hearing if you cruise down the highway in a convertible with the top down.
Generally, people who often participate in leisure activities with average noise levels above 90 dB increase their risk of suffering hearing loss by 10 percent, according to a study published in the periodical, Audiology. Certain activities bring an increase in risk of 30 percent.

An average noise level of 70-78 dB is similar to rush hour traffic, which can be annoying but not dangerous unless you are in it for long periods of time. However, the maximum levels and the percentage of time in the dangerous zone are a completely different story. A person should not, for instance, be exposed to a sound level of 110 dB for more than one minute and 29 seconds each day.

Noise levels in a football stadium can reach as high as 117 dB. At this level, just four minutes of exposure could cause permanent hearing loss. Hearing loss typically happens gradually, and being at one game in a stadium is unlikely to result in permanent damage. You are more likely to experience temporary hearing loss, but this is an indication that some damage has occurred.

Did you also know that?

  • The impulse noise from firearms is as intense as 132-165 dB and thus extremely dangerous to your hearing.
  • On a motorcycle ride at 100 kilometers per hour (63 miles per hour) sound levels range between 103 dB and 116 dB.
  • At sound levels as high as 115dB in some video arcades, young guests risk hearing loss in just 30 seconds.

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