Festive sounds can damage your hearing health

Photo credit: cottonbro studio

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

Forbes Magazine recently reported on festive sounds that can damage your hearing health. It’s worth noting that I prefer the term auditory health, which includes not only noise-induced hearing loss but also tinnitus and hyperacusis. As reporter Robby Brumberg writes, “just one brief exposure to a loud noise can cause permanent hearing damage, and sustained exposure to raucous or reverberating noise can cause irreversible hearing loss.” He mentions children’s toys, fireworks, music, concerts and events as festive sounds. He also includes noise from power tools used for holiday decorating or home improvement projects.

The article correctly states that prolonged exposure to noises over 70 decibels can cause hearing damage, according to the CDC. It also draws attention to the fact that the obsolete definition of noise as “unwanted sound” ignores the fact that even wanted sounds, like the festive noises previously mentioned, can cause auditory damage. That’s why I’m trying to let people know that they should use the updated definition of sound, noise is unwanted and/or harmful sound.

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