Responsible personal listening is very important to a person’s long-term hearing health. According to the American Academy of Audiology, a MP3 player at full volume is in the range of 90-120 dB, a level that can cause permanent damage to hearing if your exposure time is over 30 minutes. A custom car stereo “boom car” can be over 130 dB in volume, a level that can permanently damage hearing in seconds. This level can even be perceived as painful in the ear.
Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by prolonged exposure to any loud sound over 85 dB. Indications that you have been exposed to sound at a dangerously high level are: having to shout over the sound in order to be heard, a perception of pain in the ears while exposed to the sound, a ringing sensation in the ears after exposure to the sound, and a sensation of decreased or “muffled” hearing for several minutes to hours to days after exposure to the sound.
Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by damage to the microscopic hair cells that are in our inner ears. Hair cells are sensory cells that convert the sounds we hear (sound waves) into electrical signals that then travel to the brain to be perceived as sound. Once damaged, our hair cells cannot grow back; they are a nerve cell, therefore causing permanent hearing loss following damage from loud sound exposure.