According to the National Institutes of Health, 15 percent of Americans aged 20 to 69 have some amount of hearing loss related to noise at work or recreational activities. The best way to prevent this, of course, is to avoid exposure to high decibel (dB) noise. But when that kind of noise is unavoidable, earplugs can be a good option, particularly when you are using power tools, noisy yard equipment or firearms.
“Generally, you should avoid long exposure to noises louder than about 90 dB,” says Adam S. Morgan, MD, otolaryngologist at Saint Francis Medical Center. “Noises louder than that are acceptable for a short duration, but only occasionally.”
The following are examples of popular recreational activities and their noise levels:
Firecracker – 180 dB
Gunshot – 167 dB
Car stereo – 154 dB
Sporting events – 127 dB
Rock concert – 120 dB