Hearing loss

How loud is too loud
for my ears?

How do I know if my hearing is at risk?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to sounds 85 decibels (dB) and above can damage your hearing.

The louder or higher decibel the sound is, the less exposure time is required for hearing loss to occur.

This chart shows examples of sounds with decibel levels ranging from 40 dB to 140 dB, and the amount of exposure time necessary to put your hearing at risk.

If you’re unsure whether the noise you’re being exposed to exceeds 85 dB, many smartphone apps — like Starkey’s free SoundCheck app — let you measure decibel levels in real time.


Gunshot, Jet Engine at Takeoff
Immediate danger to hearing


Air Raid Siren, Firecracker
Pain threshold


Rock Concert, Sandblasting
Risk of hearing damage in 7 minutes


Baby's Cry, Jet Ski
Risk of hearing damage in 15 minutes


Snowmobile in Driver's Seat
Risk of hearing damage in 30 minutes


Jackhammer, Helicopter
Risk of hearing damage in 1 hour


Chain Saw, Stereo Headphone
Risk of hearing damage in 2 hours


Motorcycle, Power Saw
Risk of hearing damage in 4 hours


Lawnmower, Truck Traffic
Risk of hearing damage in 8 hours


Beginning of OSHA Regulations


Busy traffic, Vacuum Cleaner


Conversation, Dishwasher


Quiet Room

You might also like:

  • Signs of hearing loss

    The early warning signs of hearing loss are often missed. Learn what to look for.

  • How can I stop this ringing in my ears?

    Sadly, there is no cure for tinnitus, but there are proven ways to get relief.

    Learn more
  • Schedule an appointment

    Meet with a local hearing professional who can help.