Though some forms of hearing loss caused by genetic defects at birth, or though the natural aging process, may not be able to be prevented, there is one type of hearing loss that is complete preventable: noise-induced hearing loss.
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is very common and it can happen at any age. It can occur from a sudden loud noise at a high-decible level, like a gunshot or explosion, or from repeated exposure to moderate loud noises (above 85 dB) over time.
The rule of thumb for unprotected ears is that the allowed exposure time decreases by one-half for each 5 dB increase in the sound. For instance, you can listen to a 90 dB sound (motorcycle, lawn mower, construction equipment) for eight hours per day, a 95 dB sound (boats, 4-wheelers, jackhammers) for four hours per day and a 100 dB (outdoor concerts, fireworks) sound for two hours per day. Learn more with this helpful decibel chart and the quick tips below.