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Gradual hearing loss may occur after prolonged exposure to 90 decibels or above.
Exposure to 100 decibels for more than 15 minutes can cause hearing loss.
Exposure to 110 decibels for more than a minute can cause permanent hearing loss.
Preventing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
When you know you will be exposed to loud noises, either temporarily or over a longer period, using ear plugs or ear muffs can help prevent hearing loss. Ear plugs, which fit into the outer ear canal, and ear muffs, which fit over the entire outside of the ear, decrease the intensity of the sound that reaches the eardrum. Properly fitted ear plugs and ear muffs can reduce noise by 15 to 30 decibels.
Other preventive measures include:
Protect small children from loud noises.
Be aware of hazardous noises in your environment.
Know which noises are too loud and can cause damage.
Undergo a medical examination to measure hearing.
In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires hearing conservation programs in noisy work environments.
Workers exposed to 85 decibels or more each day are required to have an annual hearing test. If more than 10 decibels of hearing loss are indicated by the annual hearing test, the employee must be informed and is required to wear some type of hearing protectors.
The Stanford Medicine Online Second Opinion program offers you easy access to our world-class doctors. It’s all done remotely and you don’t have to visit our hospital or one of our clinics for this service. You don’t even need to leave home!