If you’ve been noticing that your hearing is deteriorating, you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world and within the UK are suffering from hearing loss that’s noise-induced, which is basically caused by people being repeatedly exposed to sounds at different levels of loudness- either over an extended period or a one-time exposure to an extremely loud sound.

This hearing impairment is one of the most common hazards that people will find at work today. It’s caused when the microscopic hair cells located inside the cochlea of the air are damaged. These hairs send electrical signals onwards to the auditory nerve when they respond to the vibrations of different sounds, however when they’re damaged they can no longer send these signals, and it will affect your hearing.

Did you know that the average person can hear sounds which go all the way down to around 0 decibels? That’s about the sound of leaves rustling on trees. When we compare this sound to those that are up to 85 decibels or even louder, it’s easy to see why these can cause someone to have permanent damage to their ears.


If you think that either yourself, or someone you know may have encountered this type of hearing loss, see this really good infographic about it, which goes into plenty of detail about the types of sounds that may affect your hearing.

We know that sounds greater than 85 decibels can cause your hearing to be permanently damaged, but what does that mean for the real world? This can be as simple as heavy city traffic or a piano, and sustained exposure to these noises can potentially result in hearing loss.

Sounds that are 90 decibels include a motorbike, nightclubs, classical concerts and rock venues. At 100 decibels, you may find that these sounds are irritating for your ears, which is why you should use protective headphones when around noises such as a helicopter or chainsaw.

For those who like to crank up the music, personal stereos at full volume, a clap of thunder, and sirens from ambulance, fire, or police vehicles can range from 110-120 decibels.

At 125 decibels, you’ll notice that these sounds tend to hurt your ears. A football match can   mean noises up to 131 decibels, so this gives you a good idea of the type of noises to avoid.

140 decibels is where you’ll find that even short term exposure may permanently damage your ears, and this is the absolute maximum exposure you should have with hearing protection.

At 150 decibels, you can include the sound of a formula one car at full throttle, a gunshot (this can go up to 190 decibels), and a jet take-off.

This should give you a good idea of the types of noises you want to avoid exposing yourself to. If you notice ringing in your ears, you struggle to hear conversations, or continually need to turn up your TV, it could be a good sign that you need to get your hearing tested.