Protect Your Ears!
When any part of the hearing pathway becomes damaged by noise or other factors, hearing loss can occur.
Get the facts on hearing loss for protection and prevention.
Did You Know?
• Approximately 48 million Americans have some form of hearing loss
• More than half of all hearing loss cases are due to noise exposure
• 15 percent of Americans between ages 20 - 69 have noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) that may have been caused by exposure to loud noises at work or during leisure activities
• Regular exposure to sound over 100 dB for more than one minute risks permanent hearing loss
• Noise-induced hearing loss does not discriminate. People of all ages, including babies, children, teens, adults, and seniors can develop NIHL
• Noise-induced hearing loss is 100% preventable
Sources: Center for Hearing and Communication; National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
How Do Loud Sounds Cause Damage?
As sounds travel the pathway through our ears, they pass through the cochlea, a small snail-shaped organ filled with tens of thousands of hair cells and fluid — like blades of seagrass in the ocean. When activated by sound, the hair cells wave, sending electrical impulses to the brain for interpretation.
The louder and longer the sound levels, the more pressure is put onto the hair cells, and the more damaged they become.
When exposed to safe sound levels, the hair cells will recover and function normally. Yet when exposed to high decibel levels over long periods of time, they become bent down, damaged, and unable to transfer sound effectively.
Recommended Noise Exposure Limits for Safe Hearing:
How Loud is Your Environment?
Find out if you need protection from these common sounds: