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7 everyday sounds that can damage hearing

Important tips for protecting your hearing

Did you know that it’s not just industrial workers who must protect their hearing from the harmful effects of noise?

A single loud blast – also known as impact noise or impulse noise – that lasts for longer than one second, can immediately cause permanent hearing loss. Fireworks and gunfire are some of the most common examples of impact noises.

Impulse noise is measured in dBA, and impulse noise greater than 140 dBA will damage your hearing right away. In addition to impact noises, any 85 dBA or above sound can cause noise-induced hearing loss.

To understand the average decibel levels for everyday sounds as well as what noises are considered safe or dangerous, see the list below:

Impulse noises at 140 dBA and above are not safe for any period: Fireworks at 1 metre, shotguns and firecrackers have a noise level of 150 dBA and should be avoided.

Painfully loud noises between 121 and 140 dBA can cause hearing damage in as little as 30 seconds. Jackhammers, rock concerts, aeroplane take-offs, loud stereos, balloons popping, and police or ambulance sirens are all sounds in this decibel range.

Very loud noises between 101 and 120 dBA can cause hearing damage in just two hours. These very loud sounds include a baby crying, squeaky toys, chainsaws, live sporting events or a passing motorcycle.

Loud noises between 85 and 100 dBA an cause hearing damage within eight hours or more. Familiar sounds that can damage your hearing in this range include lawnmowers, vacuum cleaners, heavy traffic and car horns, handsaws, noisy restaurants, blenders and food processors, or train stations.

In some situations, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is sufficient for protecting hearing while vacuuming, using a handsaw, lawnmower, or a blender or food processor. However, PPE won’t be the right choice for every situation. Especially at a noisy restaurant or at a train station, you will miss important information and announcements

Improving sound in public spaces such as a restaurant or train station is a simple as installing sound absorption panels to enhance the acoustics.

Talk to Avenue about soundproofing solutions for your space

Avenue Interior Systems offer a range of products that are effective in public spaces such a restaurants and train stations, including:

  • Sound-absorbing hanging baffles can dampen echoes
  • Acoustic panels can be added to most walls and ceilings to absorb noise
  • Soundproof doors: AIS supply door sweeps and seals to improve acoustics in public spaces, and our parent company Flexshield supplies complete acoustic door sets.
  • Acoustic partitions can be used around POS areas and service areas to improve the ambience.


For more information on any noise control products, call the Avenue team on 1300 827 177 or download our 7 sounds that can damage hearing infographic here.