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Hearing Tips

West Coast Hearing Clinic’s Dr. Mark Scoones wants folks to be aware that loud sounds can damage hearing. May, Better Hearing and Speech Month, is a good time for everyone to check noise levels in their environment and consider changes.

In America, 36 million people have hearing loss, Scoones notes. And one in three of those developed that loss as a result of exposure to noise, the Aberdeen audiologist says.

A unit measuring sound is called a decibel. The perceived loudness of sounds doubles with every 10 decibels. Hearing damage can occur with exposure to sounds of 85 decibels or more. Pain begins with sounds exceeding 125 decibels. Sounds measuring 140 decibels can cause immediate damage to hearing.

Whisper, quiet library at 6’ 20-30 dB

Normal conversation at 3’ 60-65 dB

Telephone dial tone 80 dB

City traffic (from inside vehicle) 85 dB

Train whistle at 500’ 90 dB

Truck traffic 90 dB

Jackhammer at 50’ 95 dB

Hand drill 98 dB

Power mower at 3’ 107 dB

Riding a motorcycle 100 dB

Power saw at 3’ 110 dB

Loud rock concert 120-129 dB

Pneumatic riveter at 4’ 125 dB

.22 caliber rifle 144 dB

.357 revolver 172 dB

Scoones and fellow audiology specialists across the country suggest people protect their hearing by:

Wearing hearing protection when around sounds louder than 85 dB for a long period of time;

Turning down the volume of the radio, TV, MP3 Player or anything else through ear buds or headphones;

Walking away from loud noises, and

Faithfully using ear protection when exposed to industrial noises at work.