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Turn Down the Sound to Reduce your Chances for Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) occurs when tiny sensory hair cells in our inner ears are damaged by noises that are too loud and that last for too long.

The max volume of music in headphones is about 105 decibels. That’s 100 times louder than the noise level (85 decibels) at which workers are required to start using hearing protection.  Listening to very loud music in headphones for even a few minutes puts you at an increased risk for hearing loss.

Your ears can be your warning system for potentially dangerous noises around you. The noise is too loud when:

  • You have to raise your voice to be understood by someone standing nearby.

  • The noise hurts your ears.

  • You develop a buzzing or ringing sound in your ears, even temporarily.

  • You don’t hear as well as you normally do until several hours after you get away from the noise.

If you are around noises at this level, take protective action. To avoid NIHL:

  • Block the noise (wear earplugs or earmuffs).

  • Avoid the noise (walk away).

  • Turn down the sound.

Learn more about protecting your hearing.