» Hearing Loss Prevention

Hearing Loss Prevention

Too much exposure to workplace noise and recreational noise can cause permanent and irreversible damage. Noise-induced hearing loss is preventable, yet it is one of the leading causes of hearing loss.

3 Risk Factors for Noise-induced Hearing Loss:

01. How loud the noise is

02. How close you are to the noise

03. How long you are exposed to the noise

How To Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Noise-induced hearing loss is usually slow and gradual making it difficult to realize the damage that is being done.


Remove yourself or the noise from the environment. If continuous noise is unavoidable, wear hearing protection and double up, if possible. Custom-fit ear plugs offer the highest level of noise reduction.


Reduce the level of noise you are exposed to. Whether it be an exercise class or a loved one’s music, don’t be shy to speak up and ask that the volume to be turned down. Chances are you are not the only one finding it too loud and others will thank you.


Rest your ears and take breaks as much as possible during exposure to loud noise, especially if you are unable to remove yourself completely or reduce the noise level. Washroom breaks count!

What Level Is Too Loud for Adults?

Continual sound of 70 dB or lower are safe for any duration of time. Sounds reaching 85 dB can lead to a noise-induced hearing loss if listened to for more than 8 hours. Sounds over 85 dB can damage your hearing quickly. For every 3 dB rise in sound level, the safe listening time is cut in half. For example, sounds of 88 dB have a safe listening time of 4 hours, sounds of 91 dB have a safe listening time of 2 hours, and so on.


What Is Too Loud for Children?

Infants and children are at greater risk of hearing loss from noise than adults. A child’s ear canal is smaller which creates greater sound pressure causing loud sound to be even louder to their little ears.

As a rule of thumb, infants should not be exposed to sustained sounds over 60 dB. For reference, normal conversation is typically between 55-65 dB.

Appliances, Noise Machines, and Toys

To be safe, home appliances such as vacuum cleaners and blenders should be used away from infants or for very limited time. White noise machines for sleep should never exceed 50-60 dB. Toys for infants should not exceed 60 dB, toys for toddlers should not exceed 70 dB, and toys for older children should not exceed 80 dB. If they do, return them, or take the batteries out.

Hearing Protection for Infants & Children

If avoidance of loud sound is not possible, ensure your child is using hearing protection. Infant and children-sized earmuffs and noise-canceling headphones are available at most large retail stores. And of course, be sure to model good hearing health behaviour and wear hearing protection as well.

Earplugs should not be used for infants and children as they are a choking hazard and can cause damage to the ear canal/eardrum.


Signs That It Is Too Loud

  • You must raise your voice to be heard
  • You cannot understand someone 3 feet away
  • Your hearing seems dull or muffled following exposure to the sound
  • You experience pain or ringing (tinnitus) following exposure to the sound

Noise & General Health

Recent research is finding that noise may not only cause damage to your hearing. Loud noise exposure can cause health problems such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Upset stomach
  • Sleep problems (in the absence of noise)

Monitor Sound Levels with A Free Sound Level Meter App

There are several free sound level meter apps available for download on your smartphone, iPad, or tablet. Our audiologists recommend the NIOSH Sound Level Meter App.


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