Protecting Hearing

Hearing loss from exposure to loud sounds is painless, progressive and permanent. The good news is through protection and limiting your exposure to loud sound levels, you can prevent hearing damage.

Hearing damage can occur when sounds exceed 85 decibels (dB). When dealing with noises over this range it is important to protect your ears.

If you notice the following symptoms after exposure to loud sounds, you may be over-exposed and could potentially be causing long-term damage:

  • Voices suddenly sound muffled and your ears feel stuffy
  • You experience ringing or buzzing in one or both ears (also known as tinnitus).
  • Your ears hurt after being in a loud place.
  • Your hearing is suddenly sensitive to noise.

*If any of these symptoms last longer than a day, you should visit your audiologist.

Permissible Exposure Chart:

Hearing damage occurs as a function of loudness and exposure time. The following chart shows the recommended permissible exposure time for continuous noise without using ear protection.

Continuous dB Permissible Exposure Time
85 dB88 dB

91 dB

94 dB

97 dB

100 dB

103 dB

106 dB

109 dB

112 dB

115 dB

8 hours4 hours

2 hours

1 hour

30 minutes

15 minutes

7.5 minutes

3.75 minutes

1.875 minutes

.9375 minutes

.46875 minutes

*Information from www.dangerousdecibels.org

If you regularly find yourself exposed to damaging noise levels, it is important to monitor your hearing through periodic hearing tests. Please call our office today to schedule a hearing test.

Kenwood Hearing Centers [East Santa Rosa]- 707-538-1000

Kenwood Hearing Centers [Petaluma] – 707-789-9191

Kenwood Hearing Centers [West Santa Rosa] – 707-544-4433

Ear Protection:

There are many different forms of ear protection.

Over-the-Counter: This form of ear protection is usually disposable or can be multiple use. These earplugs will reduce all sounds to some extent, and are great for reducing higher pitched sounds. These earplugs are inexpensive and available at your local drugstore. When inserted properly they should fit in a way that completely seals the ear canal. Over-the-counter earplugs are inexpensive and widely available

Custom-Molded Earplugs: These earplugs are created by taking an impression of your ear to have them fit the individual shape of your ear canal. Custom molds are comfortable, and reduce the sound equally across high and low spectrums, making this earplug ideal for musicians and concertgoer’s. You may have custom-molded earplugs made by scheduling an appointment at one of our offices.

Earmuffs: This type of ear protection creates an acoustic seal around the outer ear through a solid shell. Earmuffs are perfect for people who use ear protection often. A downfall to this type of protection can be the heaviness and bulkiness. Earmuffs may be purchased online or in a sporting good store.