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How loud is too loud for your hearing?

"by " Albert Stein

While a number of people may associate hearing loss with the ageing process, what they may not realise is that it can also occur just as easily in your 20s or 30s. The fact of the matter is, there can be many causes for developing hearing problems, but one of the most preventable is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). 

As the name suggests, NIHL is the resulting damage that occurs to your ears after excessive exposure to loud noise. It can affect anyone, at any stage of their life, which is why it is so important to be aware of the risks. 

In fact, there could be 1.1 billion young people who could find themselves developing NIHL, according to the World Health Organisation*. By minimising your exposure to dangerous decibel levels, you can help to preserve your hearing for years to come.

It's thought we can listen to sounds below 75 decibels for an indefinite amount of time without any significant adverse affect, according to the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL)*. This includes noises such as regular conversation, or the washing machine. 

However, when sound surpasses this threshold, things can begin to change. It's thought that after 8 hours of exposure to sounds of 85 dB, we can expect to have permanently damaged our hearing. This equates to the sound of a busy road, or machinery such as lawnmower*.

Stepping up the noise again, listening to a personal music player at a 100 dB volume (or full blast) can negatively impact your ears after just 15 minutes!* This is important to note if you spend long times listening to loud music, such as at a dance class or at the gym. Music concerts which sometimes even exceed this level, can be understandably dangerous without earplugs to protect your ears. 

As explained by the NAL, NIHL is accumulative, meaning that each time you expose yourself to dangerously loud noise for a prolonged amount of time, you can heighten your risk of damaging your hearing. To check your hearing today, click here or call 1800 340 631 to request an appointment with your local Audika clinic.

*WHO, 1.1 billion people at risk of hearing loss. Accessed October 23, 2015. 

*NAL, Hearing Loss Prevention (Protection). Accessed October 23, 2015. 

*Dangerous Decibels, Noise-induced hearing loss. Accessed October 23, 2015.