Untreated hearing loss can have far-reaching consequences. 

In fact, some effects of untreated hearing loss may even surprise you. 

Researchers have devoted enormous time and resources to the problem of noise inducing hearing loss (NIHL), how to prevent it and how to treat it. While damage that has already occurred is irreversible, there are ways to prevent NIHL. 

Limit your exposure to dangerous noise levels—which includes heavy city traffic—whenever possible. Wear earplugs when near or engaged in a loud activity like shooting a gun, riding an ATV, mowing the lawn or attending a concert. 

Finally, educating yourself and family members to what constitutes a loud noise (anything over 75 decibels) is important. 

Here are the average decibel ratings of some familiar sounds:

  • The humming of a refrigerator: 45 decibels
  • Normal conversation: 60 decibels
  • Noise from heavy city traffic: 85 decibels
  • Motorcycles: 95 decibels
  • An MP3 player at maximum volume: 105 decibels
  • Sirens: 120 decibels
  • Firecrackers and firearms: 150 decibels
Your distance from the source of the sound and the length of time you are exposed to the sound are also important factors in protecting your hearing. A good rule of thumb is to avoid noises that are too loud, too close, or last too long. Visit National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders' website for more tips on protecting yourself from noise-induced hearing loss.

And, don’t forget about your RIPEA hearing insurance membership benefit

Not a RIPEA member? Become one today!