Laura O. Robertson, Au.D

Doctor of Audiology

(603) 528-7700 • Toll Free (800) 682-2338
Fax (603) 528-9623

211 South Main Street
Laconia, New Hampshire 03246


How Noise Effects Hearing


Your ears are very sensitive to the presence of sound. An infant can hear sound ranging from the frequencies of 20Hz to 20,000Hz. Unfortunately, throughout our lifetime we are exposed to a variety of factors which cause hearing sensitivity to be reduced. One primary cause of reduced hearing levels is exposure to loud noise.

Everyone has a different definition for the word loud. OSHA regulations state that exposure to noise above 90 decibels may damage your hearing. Examples of noises at this level include a police whistle, truck traffic, subway train, pneumatic hammer (at a distance of 3 feet) or a motorcycle (from 25 feet away). 

Damage to your hearing usually occurs very gradually. Noise exposure experienced today may not become apparent for five to ten years. A decrease in hearing may be more noticeable to others or, a routine hearing exam may identify it. This sort of hearing loss usually occurs in the "treble" frequencies first. These frequencies contain the higher-pitched consonant sounds of our language. Mishearing these sounds may result in misinterpreting spoken language, as you attempt to “fill in the blanks” for the sounds you no longer hear.

There are some other warning signs that ear damage has occurred. For example, when your hearing becomes muffled, for a period of time, after being exposed to loud noise; you are experiencing a temporary hearing shift. Although hearing usually seems to return to normal after several hours, temporary losses of this type can be cumulative, adding up to permanent hearing loss. Alternately, a "ringing" or "buzzing" sound in your ears after exposure to loud noise indicates that the hair cells of the inner ear have been damaged. Once damaged, these sound receivers, which send the sound signal along to the hearing nerve, cannot be repaired (please see Anatomy of the Ear).

"I am really pleased with my hearing aids. They work so much better than the ones I had purchased elsewhere, a couple years before. With these instruments, I was able to understand the announcements and pages made over the PA system at Foxwoods."

-Bruno Siniscalchi, Moultonboro, NH


211 South Main Street • Laconia, New Hampshire 03246

(603) 528-7700 • (800)

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