Since exposure to loud noises has been proven to damage your hearing, wear hearing protection such as earplugs if you will be in a noisy environment. Any sound louder than 80-85 decibels can damage your hearing, and extended exposure to sounds above 90-95 decibels can result in a permanent hearing loss or ringing in the ears. For comparison’s sake, city traffic registers about 85 dB, and a hair dryer or lawn mower measures about 90 dB.
At maximum volume, MP3 players put out music at up to 120 decibels, about as loud as a jet taking off. But at just 100-105 decibels, permanent hearing damage can occur in eight to 15 minutes. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines require hearing protection in workplaces where decibel levels reach higher than 85. Earplugs can also help prevent the formation of exostoses, a bony growth in the ear canal commonly known as surfer’s ear.