What Did You Say?

An ounce of prevention prevents common cause of hearing loss.


Do you or your children listen to music at high volume through ear buds or headphones? Enjoy attending loud concerts? Mow the grass or use a leaf blower without earplugs? You may be at risk.

Long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels may result in noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). This may occur in one or both ears and be temporary or permanent. However, with proper awareness and precautions this is a preventable condition.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently recommended screening for high frequency noise exposure and offering prevention guidelines at annual visits.


Sound is measured in decibels. For example:

Normal conversation                  60    decibels

Heavy city traffic                           85    decibels

MP3 player at max volume       105   decibels
(This is 100 times more intense than 85 decibels!)

Siren                                                  120   decibels

Firecracker/gun                            150   decibels

The louder the sound and/or the closer you are to the sound, the less amount of time it takes for damage to occur.


What can you do?

Keep the volume down – Regularly listen at 60%volume, and rarely, if ever more than at 80% level. Use noise cancelling headphones so music can be heard clearly at lower volumes. Wear earplugs when involved in loud activities, such as mowing the lawn. An ear bud in one ear is not recommended.

Limit time spent in noisy activities. Move to quieter locations in venues, such as away from loudspeakers. Limit unprotected exposure to sounds that are 100 decibels to less than 15 minutes. Regular exposure to sounds at 110 decibels for more than one minute risks permanent damage. Music at 80% volume should be limited to about 90 minutes.

Monitor safe listening levels. Most phones and devices have controls that can be set to safe maximum volume levels. Volume limited headphones are available for purchase. Seek care if any symptoms of hearing loss or ringing in the ears, and have regular screening check-ups.

NIHL is one area where an ounce of prevention really works!


Find more information visit dekalbpeds.com or call 404-508-1177 



by Jane Wilkov, M.D.