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How Hearing Works

Case Study of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. The audiogram below belongs to a man whose hearing loss was caused by gunfire while serving in World War II. After the war, he continued to be active in shooting sports. You can see that his hearing loss is most pronounced in the areas critical to understanding speech.

Symptoms of Hearing Loss:
  • Hearing but not understanding
  • Turning up the volume on the TV
  • Must lip read to understand speech
  • Cannot hear environmental sounds such as game calls, traps releasing, crickets, etc.
  • Strained personal relationships, denial
  • Social withdrawal
  • Fatigue and stress

Noise Level Exposure Limits
90 dB 8 hrs
95 dB 4 hrs
100 dB 2 hours
105 dB 1 hour
110 dB 30 minutes
115 dB 15 minutes
.38 Spl. 156 dB
.44 Mag 164 dB
140 dB Space rocket at blastoff
130 dB Jackhammer
120 dB Ambulance siren
Amplified rock band
Thunder clap
115 dB Sandblasting
110 dB Woodworking shop
100 dB Pneumatic drill
90 dB Lawn mower
Disco dance music
Shop tools
Truck traffic
Noisy restaurant
80 dB City traffic
Loud music from radio
75 dB Kitchen appliances
70 dB Crowded restaurant
65 dB Conversation speech
60 dB Sewing machine
50 dB Average home interior
40 dB Quiet residential community
30 dB Whisper at five feet
20 dB Leaves rustling in a breeze
10 dB Normal breathing
0 dB Faintest sound heard by a human ear

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