Hearing Loss

Frequently Asked Questions

6. What role does noise play in hearing loss?

One of the most common causes of hearing loss is noise. Loud noise can permanently damage the inner ear. Loud noise also contributes to tinnitus, which is a ringing, roaring, clicking, hissing, or buzzing sound in the ears. Older adults often have hearing loss and tinnitus from a combination of both noise and age.

The intensity, or loudness, of a sound is measured in units called decibels, or dB. An ordinary conversation is approximately 60 dB; city traffic noise can reach 85 dB; and a firecracker can reach an ear-piercing 150 dB. Loud noises at or above 85 dB can permanently damage the inner ear.