How can sound damage your hearing?
A small guide
- Very loud sounds (e.g. 120-140 decibels) are painful to your ears; however, your ears can be damaged by much less loud sounds (i.e. sounds at or above 85 decibels).
- At first, tinnitus (ringing in your ears) and/or hearing loss may be temporary, with your hearing returning to normal after a few hours or days; however, if you continue to expose your ears to loud sounds your ears will eventually be unable to recover and permanent hearing loss will occur.
- Permanent hearing loss can result from either a single exposure to a very loud sound (e.g. gunshot) or long-term exposure to sounds of varying loudness, or a combination of these exposures.
The ear is a very complex organ. there are tiny bones (smaller than a 5p coin put together) called the hammer, the anvil and the stirrup. These vibrate when you hear something.
This comparison chart can show you how many decibels are in sounds that can be painful. For instance a rock concert is 120 decibels!
If you listen to a sudden and very loud sound (150 decibels) your ear drums can actually burst. This can be extremely painful.
How can you stop it?
How can we listen to less?
- Construction of soundproof rooms for noisy machines in industrial and manufacturing installations must be encouraged. This is also important for residential building- noisy machines should be installed far from sleeping and living rooms, like in a basement or garage.
- Use of horns with jarring sounds, motorbikes with damaged exhaust pipes, noisy trucks to be banned.
- Noise producing industries, airports, bus and transport terminals and railway stations stationed far from where people live.
- Community law enforcers should check the misuse of loudspeakers, outdoor parties or discos, as well as public announcement systems.
- Trees along roads and in residential areas is a good way to reduce noise pollution as they absorb sound.