Just as you would take preventative measures to protect yourself from heart disease or diabetes, or your head from injury if you cycle or ski, it pays to protect yourself from occupational hearing loss and hearing problems caused by exposure to loud music, motors and gun shots.



Industrial workplace noises, gunfire, loud music and other common, everyday sounds that are louder than 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss. Just how loud is 85 decibels?

Take a look at these decibel ratings and permissible exposure times provided by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (NIOSH/CDC)

Traffic, inside the car

Intensities: 85 dB

Permissible exposure time: 8 hours


Intensities: 88 dB

Permissible exposure time: 4 hours

Jazz Concert

Intensities: 91 dB

Permissible exposure time: 2 hours

Power Mower

Intensities: 94 dB

Permissible exposure time: 1 hour


Intensities: 97 dB

Permissible exposure time: 30 minutes

Ambulance Siren, inside driver window down

Intensities: 100 dB

Permissible exposure time: 15 minutes

Rock Concert, Leaf Blower

Intensities: 115 dB

Permissible exposure time: 30 seconds

For a complete listing of over 1700 noises and their corresponding decibel levels, check out this list of Exposure Time Guidelines from Dangerous Decibels.

Benjamin Franklin got it right when he said “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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