What Is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?

Protecting your hearing is extremely important, although many people take it for granted until it’s too late. Approximately 48 million Americans have a significant hearing loss. While many people think this is just a side-effect of old age, there’s another culprit that’s to blame for hearing damage.

Suffering from noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is relatively common. However, by educating yourself, you can easily avoid becoming a victim.

To help you out, we’re going over the basics of NIHL and how you can prevent it.


We’re exposed to all sorts of noises every day, and for the most part, they’re harmless. However, if you’re exposed to noise that’s loud enough to damage sensitive components of the inner ear, you’re at risk for developing noise-induced hearing loss.

We measure sound in decibels. Sound that remains below the 75-decibel mark most likely won’t cause hearing damage. However, prolonged or frequent exposure to noise above the 85-decibel mark can result in NIHL.

You’re probably asking how you’re supposed to know which sounds are too loud. The best approach is to consult a hearing loss decibels chart.


It’s important to remember that the decibel level along with the amount of exposure to a noise has a direct impact on the severity of NIHL. These factors also have a lot to do with how quickly you’ll notice hearing damage.

NIHL typically comes on slowly, sometimes taking years before you notice a problem. However, there are some symptoms you can watch out for.

In the early stages, you may start having to turn up the television louder. As the conditions worsen, you may have trouble hearing everything during a normal conversation.

Once NIHL progresses to the later stages, you may not be able to hear someone using a loud speaking voice just a few feet away. You may also notice frequent ringing in your ears.


Certain occupations are at a higher risk of developing NIHL. Some of the more common include construction workers, musicians, miners, and nightclub employees.

If you have one of these jobs or are exposed to loud noises on a regular basis, you need to take precautions right away.

One of the best ways to avoid NIHL is to wear hearing protection devices. These are earplugs or headphones that cancel out noise.

If you frequently listen to music through earbuds, make sure you keep the volume low. Earbuds are a leading cause of non-occupational NIHL.

While there’s no cure for NIHL, if you’re dealing with the effects of hearing loss on a daily basis, getting hearing aids may be the only way to treat the condition.


If you feel you’re at risk of noise-induced hearing loss, prevention is the best treatment. Make sure you’re wearing hearing protection every time you go to work and remember to keep earbuds turned down.

If you’re suffering from permanent hearing loss, we can help. Contact us to learn more.