We’re hEAR for You provides information and free earplugs at concerts and music festivals across the U.S. Our goal is to break the stigma of using hearing protection, so we can all enjoy the music for a lifetime!
NIHL can be caused by a one-time exposure to an intense sound or by continuous exposure to loud sounds over an extended period of time (The louder the sound, the shorter the time period before NIHL can occur). The severity of the HL depends on the level, duration, and frequency content of the exposure. Exposure to dangerous levels of noise can often be traced to listening to amplified music through headphones or sound systems, while playing music, attending rock concerts or dance venues, and other everyday noisy activities.
It affects your speech perception. People with noise-induced hearing loss “may have trouble hearing speech sounds like “s,” “th,” or “v” and other high pitched sounds. The vast majority of listeners with hearing loss have abnormal performance on speech recognition in background noise.
Lombard Effect is the involuntary tendency for speakers to increase their vocal effort when speaking in loud noise to enhance the audibility of their voice.
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) occurs when tiny sensory hair cells in our inner ears are damaged by sounds that are too loud and that last for too long. NIHL can be caused by a one-time exposure to an intense “impulse” sound, such as an explosion, or by continuous exposure to loud sounds over an extended period of time, such as noise generated in a woodworking shop. Impulse sound can result in immediate hearing loss that may be permanent. This kind of hearing loss may be accompanied by tinnitus (a ringing, buzzing, or roaring in the ears or head) which may subside over time. Continuous exposure to loud noise also can damage the structure of hair cells, resulting in hearing loss and tinnitus, although the process occurs more gradually than for impulse noise.You can prevent NIHL from both impulse and continuous noise by regularly using hearing protectors such as earplugs or earmuffs.
Know which noises can cause damage (those at or above 85 decibels). Wear earplugs or other hearing protective devices when involved in a loud activity. Be alert to hazardous noise in the environment. Lower the loudness of the sound. Do not listen to loud sounds for too long. Protect the ears of children who are too young to protect their own.
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), both the level of noise and the length of time you listen to the noise can put you at risk for noise-induced hearing loss. Noise levels are measured in decibels (dB). The higher the decibel level, the louder the noise. Normal conversational speech is about 60 dB. Sitting in front of the speakers at a rock concert can expose you to 120 decibels, which will begin to damage hearing in only 7 1/2 minutes. Long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the time period before NIHL can occur.
Information provided by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health. http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/noise.asp