How Loud is Loud?

Loud sounds are all around us. Think about it – leaf blowers, lawnmowers, live music, amplified sounds, etc., are constants in our environment Sustained loud noises can be very damaging to one’s hearing. If you work in an industry that exposes you to loud noises for long periods of time, you should consider ear protection. The Audiology team at CNC Hearing and Balance Center can custom-fit earplugs that can offer maximum protection against loud noises, if used correctly. The process takes only a few minutes to make an impression of your ear canal. It is then sent to a lab, where a customized earplug is made to perfectly fit the shape of your ear.

You will get a lot of use out of your customized earplugs. They can be used for many years and for many different occasions, including sporting events and concerts. Earplugs are useful protection against more moderate sounds at sustained levels. The effect of lower volumes listened to over long periods is the same as that of louder sounds heard over a short period. At the very least, protect your hearing with headphones or over-the-counter ear protection.

Sound level is measured in decibels (dB). According to the National Institute for Safety and Health, a whisper is about 30 dBA, a normal conversation is about 60 dBA, and a jackhammer is about 130 dBA. Noise is considered hazardous when it is 85 dBA or above.

The agency advises people exposed to chronic loud noises to download and use the NIOSH Sound Level Meter App. In support of the app, the agency cites a recent study by Balanay et al. [2016] which measured the sound levels of several common landscaping tools and found that many produced a maximum level higher than 85 dBA.

Repeated exposure to loud sounds can cause permanent hearing damage. Be mindful of your hearing. Once it is gone, it cannot be recovered. The Audiologists at CNC Hearing and Balance Center can recommend the latest in hearing devices to meet your needs. Visit to make an appointment or call 504.934.8320.