What is the Loudest Sound in the World?

Bryan Green, HISNoise-induced Hearing Loss

What is the Loudest Sound in the World?

Are you risking your hearing health during your daily activities? The world is full of very loud sounds that can damage your hearing, and you might not even realize which sounds are harming you. Today’s bustling city streets are full of sounds, and our workplaces and homes can also be dangerously loud. Read on to discover the loudest sound in the world, and what you can do to protect your hearing.

It’s All About the Decibels

Sound is measured in decibels (dB), and the higher the number, the louder the sound and the sooner you’ll be hurting your ears. Sounds that measure over 85 dB will damage your hearing, and at that volume, hearing health specialists recommend that you always wear hearing protection. To put decibels into perspective, the sound of normal conversation is around 60 dB, and the hum of office noise is around 70 dB. Yelled conversation, heavy traffic, a loud air conditioning unit, or a noisy restaurant are all between 80 – 90 dB, and some of these sounds could be damaging your hearing.

How Loud is Too Loud?

There are a multitude of sounds that can lead to hearing loss, and any sounds above 85 dB will hurt your hearing health. The traffic noise you are exposed to on your way to work is between 80 – 90 dB, and can damage your hearing. From screeching brakes and honking horns to the subway rushing through its tunnel, you could be putting a strain on your hearing just by commuting to work. The hallways of your child’s school can also be very loud, with volumes reaching 100 dB at lunch time. The sound of your lawnmower or leaf blower is around 100 dB, and even the hum of your hair dryer or blender can be 90 – 100 dB.

Another culprit when it comes to loud sounds is your personal listening device. When you crank up the volume on your iPod, iPad, Smartphone or laptop, the volume often tops 110 dB! With earbuds in your ears, you’re directing these dangerously loud sounds right into your ear canal and risk the health of your ears.

The Loudest Sound in the World

The pain threshold for the human ear is between 120 – 130 dB. When you hear sounds at this volume, you’ll experience a ringing or buzzing in your ears, a muffling of all the sounds around you, and anything from a dull ache in the ears to sharp pain. Sounds that exceed this volume include rock concerts or sports events, where huge speakers and screaming fans often create sounds of over 130 dB! Fireworks are also very loud, and if you’re standing close to the place where they’re being launched, you’re experiencing sounds of over 140 dB. Firearms are also extremely loud, and gunfire at close range tops 150 dB! At this volume, you will experience pain and immediate hearing loss.

The loudest man-made sounds in the world include NHRA Dragsters and space shuttle launches, and in the animal kingdom the Blue Whale can emit a call that tops 180 dB. Finally, the loudest sounds ever recorded are volcanic eruptions (190 dB), earthquakes (230 dB), and meteor explosions (310 dB).

Noise Induced Hearing Loss

If you’re exposed to dangerously loud sounds, you risk noise induced hearing loss. This hearing loss is caused by exposure to loud sounds that can damage the delicate cells in the inner ear. When these cells are damaged, your ears can’t interpret all the sound waves, or send signals to the brain about the sounds happening around you. You’ll experience this as hearing loss, and be missing many of the sounds in your environment. Noise induced hearing loss can sudden, from one very loud volley of sound. More commonly however, hearing loss is gradual, as all these sounds slowly chip away at your hearing health.

Protecting Your Hearing

To safeguard your hearing, learn more about the sounds that will damage your hearing health, and take steps to protect your hearing. Whether you want foam earplugs, wax earplugs, earmuffs, or custom molded digital earplugs, the options are endless. To learn more about what will damage your hearing, and the best ways to protect your ears, visit us today at Posey Hearing Center where our hearing health specialists will help you discover everything you need to know about your hearing health.

Bryan Green, HIS
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