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Noise volume is expressed in decibels, abbreviated to dB. The higher the number of decibels, the more noise, and in turn the greater the risk of (serious) hearing damage. Please note according to the European law in a working environment with a noise volume starting at 80 dB, employers are required by law to offer their employees hearing protection.
But there is another factor, namely the period during which the hearing is exposed to noise. The noise volume we can withstand ‘without damage’ for a few minutes represents a significant risk of hearing damage if the period of exposure is longer.
We all know that we should retire quickly and protect our ears if we see the fuse of a banger being lit … but many of us take far greater risks with our hearing on a day-to-day basis, than on that one firework evening a year.
Noise deafness is for life
Hearing is a refined and susceptible sense. Tens of thousands of minute hair cells pass on noise to the brain, through vibrations. Too much noise – and hence too many vibrations – damage these hair cells forever, because they will never grow back. Hearing damage of this kind is therefore definitive.
Common noises in decibels …
What is a decibel? A few examples…
If you then look at the list above of ‘common noises’, you can draw your own conclusions …