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Hearing Loss

dB Sound situation Damage NoNoise
150 Gun shot, fireworks blast Immediate Shoot
130 Sound peak during music concert Immediate Music
120 Pile-driving machine, hammer drill Immediate Work
110 Chain saw, power drill, grinder Almost immediatey Work
100 Drums, club, disco After 5 minutes Music
95 Wind noise on a motorbike After 15 minutes Motorsport
92 Small compressor, power drill After 30 minutes DIY & Garden
89 Lawn mower After 1 hour DIY & Garden
86 Busy city traffic, passing train After 2 hours Travel
83 In passenger aeroplane, loud voices After 4 hours Travel
60/80 Snoring, night time noise Sleep deprivation Sleep

10% of young people between 16 and 30 have permanent hearing damage and the numbers are increasing.

Apart from hearing damage, other health complaints like tinnitus, hypersensitivity to sound, high blood pressure and early age-related hearing difficulties are caused by excessive exposure to loud noise.

Noise levels are measured in decibels (dB). At sound levels of 110dB or more, you will risk immediate and permanent hearing damage. At lower sound volumes (80-110dB) the risk to your hearing is dependent on the duration for which you are exposed to the sound.

Note that the dB scale is logarithmic, i.e. an increase of just 3dB results in the effective doubling of the sound strength; this also means that for every increase of 3dB the time it takes to cause permanent hearing damage is halved.

The chart provides some examples of noise levels and the damaging effect they can have at different exposure times.