Today is the 22nd annual International Noise Awareness Day. The Center for Hearing and Communication founded this event in 1996 to “encourage people to do something about bothersome noise where they work, live, and play.” Safe listening and hearing practices are extremely important to us as Audiologists. We encourage people to participate in healthy hearing practices including: annual hearing evaluations, healthy lifestyle choices, hearing protection use when needed, and hearing aid use when recommended. For International Noise Awareness Day we want to highlight how loud noise can damage the hearing system, when to wear hearing protection, and hearing protection options.
What is noise exposure?
When noise is too loud, it begins to damage and kill the sensory cells and nerve connections in the inner ear (hearing organ and hearing nerve). The more our ears are exposed to loud sounds, the more the nerve connections are permanently destroyed, decreasing hearing and speech clarity. 
What can I do about noise exposure?
The key to preventing hearing damage from noise exposure is to avoid loud noise and use appropriate hearing protection devices. People often do not know or forget to protect their hearing until it is too late.  The damage from noise exposure is permanent. 
How can I tell if a noise is dangerous?
Noise may be damaging if you have to shout over it to be heard, the noise hurts your ears, your ears ring during or after exposure to the noise, or you have reduced hearing abilities for several hours or longer after the noise exposure.
How loud is too loud?
Prolonged exposure to noise over 85 dB is dangerous. For every 3 dB over 85 dB, safe exposure time is reduced by half. Example:  85 dB 8 hours, 88 dB 4 hours, 91dB 2 hours.


Decibel (dB) Level

  Sound Type Example




  Average conversation


  Vacuum, traffic


  Lawnmowers, power tools, hair dryers, blenders


  Motor bikes, MP3 players, musical instruments


  Jet planes (during take-off)


  Jackhammers, ambulances


  Fireworks, gun shots

How do I protect my hearing?
  1. Wear hearing protection when around sounds louder than 85 dB.
  2. Turn down the volume when listening to music or anything through ear buds and headphones.
  3. Walk away from the noise. 
What type of hearing protection is best for me?
There are many custom and non-custom hearing protection options depending upon your needs. The Audiologists at Mile High Hearing can recommend the best option for you and can teach you how to properly use your hearing protection so that you receive the most benefit.