Your home is full of hazards, including stairs you could fall down, furniture you could topple over and even pets you can trip on. But did you know that many of the appliances you use daily can be dangerous to your hearing?
How Loud is Too Loud?
According to The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), more than 40 million Americans have hearing loss caused by exposure to noise. Known as noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), this type is caused by either a one-time exposure to an intense sound, such as an explosion, or continuous exposure to loud sounds over an extensive period of time. Concerts, workshops and even listening to your music too loudly can all cause noise induced hearing loss over time.
Sounds are measured in decibels (dB); anything under 85 dB is considered safe. Here are the average decibel ratings of some familiar sounds:
- Normal conversation: 60-70 dB
- Indianapolis traffic: 80-85 dB
- Motorcycle: 95 dB
- Indianapolis Colts game: 100 dB
- Police sirens (when standing close): 120 dB
- Firecrackers: 140-150 dB
Loud noises damage the hair cells, known as stereocilia, within the inner ear. These hair cells are responsible for translating the soundwaves that enter the ear into electrical impulses, which get sent on to the brain to be interpreted as sound. Once the hair cells are damaged, they cannot regenerate, and you are left with permanent hearing loss.
Your Appliances Are Too Loud
It may surprise you how loud some home appliances really are. Below is a general breakdown of how loud some of the most common appliances can be:
- Vacuum cleaner: 60-85 dB
- Hair dryer: 60-95 dB
- Blender: 80-90 dB
- Washing machine: 50-75 dB
- Television audio: 70 dB
- Doorbell and telephone ring: 80 dB
- Garbage disposal: 70-95 dB
An easy way to determine if something may be damaging your hearing is, if you are unable to carry on a conversation near an appliance with someone standing close to you, it’s too loud.
How to Protect Yourself
While permanent, noise induced hearing loss is preventable. You can protect yourself from the hazards in your home by:
- Turning down the volume on the television and radio
- Replacing appliances with quieter models
- Investing in hearing protection to wear while using loud appliances
To learn more tips to protect yourself from hearing loss, contact Indiana Hearing Specialists to schedule an appointment with a hearing professional.