Household Items That Could Damage Your Hearing

In hearing health by Laurie Duffy, M.S.

Laurie Duffy, M.S.
Latest posts by Laurie Duffy, M.S. (see all)

From chirping birds to our favorite song on the radio, there are so many amazing sounds for our ears to take in everyday. Even so, with sound, there can be too much of a good thing. When sounds exceed safe listening levels they can cause our ears damage that is irreversible. The thing is we may not realize the sounds around us everyday that can gradually lead to hearing loss.

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

Noise induced hearing loss is caused when sounds exceed safe listening levels. It just may be surprising which sounds in your daily life are damaging.  Sound level is measured in decibels and any sound exceeding 85 decibels can inflict hearing damage over time. As decibel levels climb, the danger to your ear climbs. 

Not only does the degree of the decibel affect your ears, but the length of exposure. Excessive decibel levels can damage the fragile hairs in our inner ear, responsible for picking up sound and sending it to our brains to be processed. It’s important to take precautions around protecting your ears from excessive sound because once these tiny hairs are damaged they cannot be repaired or replaced. The hearing loss suffered from noise is permanent. 

It is common knowledge that the workplace, especially in industrial and construction settings can cause damage to your ears if precautions are not taken, but there are so many instances we are exposed to every day we might not realize are also putting our ears in danger. 

Household Items and Machines That Could Harm Your Hearing

It may be surprising which household items that you use daily could be slowly causing hearing damage. For instance a vacuum cleaner can reach up to 85 decibels, which is just past the threshold of danger. If you use your vacuum cleaner a couple of times a week for a short time it should be no problem but if you clean homes and hotels for a living the sound of a vacuum cleaner could start to cause serious damage. 

Another common household tool that can cause hearing damage is the family lawnmower. Many home lawnmowers can reach 90 decibels. If you have a huge yard that keeps you mowing for hours at a time, it’s a good idea to wear ear protection.

Earbuds and Headphones

It may be surprising, but personal listening devices are one of the largest causes of noise induced hearing loss at home and on the go. While most of us love getting lost in music or our favorite podcasts, personal listening devices can reach from 85-110 decibels, which is far past safe listening levels. It’s not only the level of noise, but also the length of time in which people are listening. Now with an unending source of streaming there is no end to the hours we can spend listening on our headphones. Sadly people of all ages are struggling with hearing loss due to listening with headphones. A good rule to remember when listening is to keep your headphone volume below 60% of the maximum listening level. It is also important to monitor the length of time you listen and remember to take a break every hour or so.

Rush Hour

You may be aware of safe listening levels at home and at work but one place that can catch many of us off guard is our daily commute. The sound of trucks, honking horn and construction can reach cacophonous and dangerous levels. If the world around you is loud on your way to work it may be a good idea to keep your windows up to protect your ears.

Protect Your Ears

If you know the levels of the sounds around you can better prepare to protect your ears.  Wearing earplugs or protective earmuffs can lower dangerous decibel levels by 20-33 decibels. If you don’t know the sound levels in your home, commute or work, there are Smartphone apps that can measure the decibel level no matter where you are. 

If you suspect you have suffered noise induced hearing loss it is a good idea to have your hearing checked. Hearing aids can help amplify the sounds you may have lost and help you to hear your best. Contact us today to learn more!