More than a third of all hearing loss is attributed to noise: loud music, loud workplaces, loud recreational equipment, due to these things people are losing their hearing at a younger age than they were 30 years ago. Em’s 4 Kids and Em’s 4 Bubs earmuffs are designed to protect young children from noise-induced hearing loss.


What is noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL)?

Noise-induced hearing loss is essentially that – loss of hearing that is caused by exposure to loud noises. When exposed to loud noise the tiny hairs inside the ear (more specifically the cochlea) are damaged. These hairs can repair themselves if only a small amount of damage is done, however over time repeated exposure to loud noise can cause permanent damage.


What can cause noise-induced hearing loss?

NIHL can be caused by a one-time exposure to an intense “impulse” sound, such as an explosion, or by continuous exposure to loud sounds over an extended period of time, such as noise generated in a woodworking shop.The loudness of sound is measured in units called decibels. For example, the humming of a refrigerator is 40 decibels, normal conversation is approximately 60 decibels, and city traffic noise can be 85 decibels. Sources of noise that can cause NIHL include motorcycles, firecrackers, and small firearms, all emitting sounds from 120 to 150 decibels. Long or repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss. The louder the sound, the shorter the time period before NIHL can occur. Sounds of less than 75 decibels, even after long exposure, are unlikely to cause hearing loss.Below is a table that outlines different noisy activities and the exposure times until hearing damage. 


Average decibels and impact before onset of hearing damage

  • Gunshot: 165db, Immediate

  • Rocket launch: 180db, Immediate

  • Power tools: 100db, 15 minutes

  • Speedboat: 110db, 2 minutes

  • Lawnmower: 90db, 2 hours

  • Personal stereo system on max level: 105db, 4 minutes

  • Chainsaw: 110db, 2 minutes

  • Jackhammer: 120db, 15 seconds

  • Average Rock concert: 110db, 2 minutes

  • Firecrackers: 140db, Immediate