More than 30 million people in the U.S. have hearing loss associated with exposure to loud noise. In New York City, more than 16% of adults reported ringing in their ears or hearing loss. Although noise-induced hearing problems cannot be treated or cured, they can be prevented.
Constant exposure to noise above 85dBA, over time, will lead to hearing problems.
Loud noise can cause short-term or permanent hearing loss . Hearing problems from noise and tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, are often due to ongoing exposure to loud sounds. Permanent hearing loss can occur from routine exposure to sounds at 85dBA for more than eight hours a day. For sounds at higher dBA, any amount of exposure can lead to hearing loss. For example, regular exposure to sounds at 100dBA for more than 15 minutes can cause hearing loss over time and exposure to a very loud sound, such as an explosion, can cause immediate hearing loss.
Hearing loss can make it difficult to:
Noise can also lead to:
In young children, exposure to noise can cause problems with reading comprehension, concentration, memory and attention span. Studies show a link between noise and poor academic performance in schoolchildren.
Loud noise in the workplace can cause hearing loss.
Most noise in your community is not loud enough to cause hearing loss, but long-term exposure can cause health problems. Noise can:
For more information, see Noise in the Community .