The loudest sound accurately measured by humans was caused by the explosive volcanic eruption of Indonesia’s Krakatoa Island on August 27, 1883.

Krakatoa’s blast registered at 173 decibels 100 miles away from the volcano – which, even at that distance, is substantially above a human’s pain threshold.

This mammoth instance of noise is a rare anomaly. However, consistent exposure to everyday sounds – subways, music, sporting events, lawn mowers, traffic, vacuums, even babies crying – can slowly damage our hearing. See how these, and other common sounds, affect your hearing in the infographic below.


percentage of children teens and adults with hearing loss

 About 1/6 of teens and adults have hearing loss, and 12.5% of children have dulled hearing in one or both ears. 

*Source  °Source


 

It’s unrealistic to think we can sterilize these noises from our lives. But we can take steps to protect our hearing, and especially the hearing of our children and infants when possible. Many devices we use today have the ability to reach noise levels 100 times more intense than the level at which hearing damage begins. Babies and children are at a higher risk for hearing damage because their shorter ear canals amplify sounds more than an adult ear. Teach children to turn down music, move away from extremely loud sounds, and wear hearing protection to events with sustained periods of noise.

babies and young children experience higher sound intensity

 Small ears can perceive sounds to be up to 20DB louder than adults due to their shorter ear canals 


 

vintage illustration of ear anatomy

 The mechanics of hearing 

Sound waves cause your  1  eardrum to vibrate → this vibration travels through the  2  three small bones of your middle ear → is converted from air vibrations into fluid vibrations within the cochlea → the fluid of your  3  cochlea causes small hair-like projections, called stereocilia, to sway with the vibrations →  the swaying of the stereocilia sends signals to the brain which are translated into a noise.

Ems for kids protective earmuffs for hearing protectionParent Co. partnered with Ems for Kids because they believe every parent should know what risks they’re taking.


 Everyday sounds that can damage our hearing. 

decibels of sounds, hearing damage in kids, lawn mower
Lawn mower or kitchen blender

85 – 90 DB

85 – 90 DB

85 - 90 DB

Safety window: 2 → 8 hours

Safety window: 2 → 8 hours

Safety window: 2 → 8 hours

decibels of sounds, hearing damage in kids, fireworks
Fireworks

140 DB

140 DB

140 DB

Adults should be 15 - 20 M away. Children 50 - 60 M to avoid instantaneous damage.

Adults should be 15 - 20 M away. Children 50 - 60 M to avoid instantaneous damage.

Adults should be 15 - 20 M away. Children 50 - 60 M to avoid instantaneous damage.

concert noise level
Dance floor or concert

110 - 140 DB

110 - 140 DB

110 - 140 DB

Safety window: less than 30 seconds → 2 minutes

Safety window: less than 30 seconds → 2 minutes

Safety window: less than 30 seconds → 2 minutes

decibels of sounds, hearing damage in kids, headphone volume
Headphones, max volume

105 DB

105 DB

105 DB

Safety window: 5 → 7 minutes

Safety window: 5 → 7 minutes

Safety window: 5 → 7 minutes

decibels of sounds, hearing damage in kids, baby cry
Baby crying at close range

99 - 120 DB

99 - 120 DB

99 - 120 DB

Safety window: under 1 min → 4 hours

Safety window: under 1 min → 4 hours

Safety window: under 1 min → 4 hours

decibels of sounds, hearing damage in kids, sports games
Sporting event, tailgate, NASCAR

95 -100 DB

95 -100 DB

95 -100 DB

Safety window: 15 min → 45 min

Safety window: 15 min → 45 min

Safety window: 15 min → 45 min

decibels of sounds, hearing damage in kids, subway
Subway or highway

80 -90 DB

80 -90 DB

80 -90 DB

Safety window: 4 hours

Safety window: 4 hours

Safety window: 4 hours

Arrow
Arrow
PlayPause
Slider

 Everyday sounds that are fairly safe for our ears. 

decibels of sounds, hearing damage in kids, traffic
City traffic

80 DB

80 DB

80 DB

Constant exposure can cause damage

Constant exposure can cause damage

Constant exposure can cause damage

decibels of sounds, hearing damage in kids, hair dryer
Vacuum or hairdryer

70 DB

70 DB

70 DB

Safe sound

Safe sound

Safe sound

decibels of sounds, hearing damage in kids, conversation
Normal conversation

50 - 60 DB

50 - 60 DB

50 - 60 DB

Safe sound

Safe sound

Safe sound

decibels of sounds, hearing damage in kids, whisper
Whisper

30 DB

30 DB

30 DB

Safe sound

Safe sound

Safe sound

Arrow
Arrow
PlayPause
Slider

 Three ways to protect your hearing 

 1  Wear protective earmuffs at loud events

Protective earmuffs can reduce a sound’s intensity by 25 DB.

hearing protection and sound


 2  Limit your exposure time

Sounds that register above 85 DB can damage our hearing. Sound intensity doubles with every 3DB increase.

Permissible time before hearing damage begins

intensity and time


 3  Move away from the noise

You will reduce noise pressure levels by 75%, or 6 DB, every time you double your distance from a sound.

distance and sound


Ems for kids protective hearing earmuffs

Parent Co. partnered with Ems for Kids because they believe every parent should know what risks they’re taking.