Noise Induced Hearing Loss (or NIHL) can result from long-term exposure to noise that, due to a combination of frequency, intensity, and duration, can cause permanent hearing loss.
Unlike cuts and bruises, NIHL happens gradually, is rarely painful, and often takes years of exposure to develop. So, damage that starts early in life, usually isn't noticed until years down the road and once hearing loss occurs, it's permanent. NIHL is the only type of hearing loss that's completely preventable, but once our hearing is gone there's no way to bring it back.
Identifying the Risk
Prolonged exposure to noise over 85db will likely cause damage over time. But just how loud is 85db? Here are some common sources of noise, ranked by how dangerous they can be.
If you need to raise your voice to be heard, then the noise level around you is high enough to cause hearing loss.
Reducing the Risk
If you understand the dangers of noise, you can protect your hearing for life. Here are some simple tips to keep your hearing in good health so you don't miss any of the sounds you love:
Know what level of noise causes damage; anything at or over 85db can put your hearing at risk after long enough exposure.
Wear earplugs or other protective devices when working in a loud environment - they're just as important as safety goggles or hard hats.
Be alert. If you notice hazardous noises in your work environment, let others know about the risk.