The Risk Of

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

What is NIHL?

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.

Decibel Chart Decibel Chart for Mobile
Decibel Level Common Sounds Danger Level
20-50 Rustling Leaves Safe
50-70 Normal Conversation Safe
70-80 City Traffic Irritating
75-90 Busy Restaurant Irritating
90-100 Power Tools Harmful
100-120 Chainsaw Damaging
120-140 Rock Concert Damaging

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.

Click here for links to more NIHL-related resources.

Dealing With NIHL

If you believe you're suffering from Noise Induced Hearing Loss, talk to your doctor about having your hearing tested, or if you've already had a hearing test and have been diagnosed with hearing loss that you feel is related to your work, or your work history, click here to learn more about how to report your injury to the WSIB.

Don't Lose the Sounds You Love

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