Ear Peace Foundation
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The loudness of sound is measured in decibels (dB).  A common scale is from 0 dB, the threshold of human hearing, to 140dB, the sound intensity of a gun shot.  Exposure to sounds at or above 85dB can cause gradual hearing loss. 

The risk of hearing damage depends on the duration and intensity of exposure.  For example, a person exposed to traffic at 85dB for eight hours can have the same risk as someone using a power tool or riding a snowmobile for only a few minutes.

  • One out of five U.S. teenagers has hearing loss due to exposure to high noise levels by the age of 19.
  • Noise-induced hearing loss is irreversible; symptoms may be temporary, but the damage is permanent. 
  • More than 50% of U.S high school students have reported at least one symptom of hearing loss, such as ringing in ears.
  • Symptoms of hearing loss and warning signs:

(See an audiologist or ENT -ear, nose and throat doctor –if symptoms persist   for more than 24 hours.)

-Sounds are suddenly distorted or muffled and hard to understand.
-You have difficulty understanding speech in loud environments.
-Your ears hurt after being in a loud environment
-You experience ringing or buzzing in your ears   (Tinnitus)

-You experience an abrupt supersensitivity to noise.


  • Most teenagers and their parents are unaware of which decibel levels are dangerous.
  • Sound levels at rock concerts can reach as high as 110 decibels or more.  At 110 decibels, hearing loss begins in less than 4 minutes.
  • Many teenagers are damaging their hearing by listening to ipods and other devices at dangerously high sound levels, especially when they want to tune out their surrounding environment.
  • Crowd noise at professional athletic events – soccer, football, basketball, hockey, etc.-often reaches dangerous levels.  Most young children, teenagers, and their parents wear no protection.
  • Speaking to friends above background music in noisy restaurants can damage your hearing.
  • Hearing loss can occur instantly by a single exposure to extremely high sound, such as a gun shot. Noise-induced hearing loss usually occurs gradually and doesn’t show up for many years.

Noise induced hearing loss is preventable.

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