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At what noise level can hearing damage occur?

hearing damage loud noises 100dB

Hearing damage from very loud sounds is considered the main cause of tinnitus. “Beep stress” is already common among young people who have gone out for an evening at a volume of around 100 dB; a volume that can cause acute hearing damage after only 10 minutes (!). Over 15% of young people between the ages of 16 and 30 already suffer permanent hearing damage as a result.

Therefore, the council recommends reducing the maximum noise level from 103 dB(A) to 100 dB(A). This is in line with surrounding countries and World Health Organization (WHO) advice, which also took into account the importance of music perception.

Encouraging the use of hearing protection is also a priority, according to the Health Council. Use of hearing protection is recommended by the WHO at 100 dB (!), especially in case of frequent exposure.

The strength of sound is thus represented in decibels (dB). For a better understanding of what decibels are associated with what noise, herewith an overview;

Painful, harmful

170 dB Firearm, siren, fighter jet, exploding fireworks
140 dB Starting aircraft at a 50m distance, car radio at highest volume, disco
130 dB Rock concert, loud passage in classical concert, festival
120 dB Excited iPod, party, rock concert

Nuisance, risk of damage

110 dB Disco, iPod and mp3 players at highest volume, house party
105 dB Metro, lunapark, lawn mower, chainsaw
100 dB Disco, pop concert, iPod, cinema
90 dB Disco, pop concert, iPod

Very loud, risk of damage

85 dB Heavy truck, iPod, loud shouting
80 dB Busy traffic road, alarm clock, busy classroom, passing train
75 dB Electric shaver, hair dryer, city noise


70 dB Sports hall, vacuum cleaner and other household appliances
60 dB Normal conversation, cell phone
50 dB Rain
40 dB Quiet room, office, mosquito


30 dB Whispering, ticking clock
20 dB Reading room in a library
10 dB Falling leaves, windless day in a quiet forest

Therefore, the desire to reduce noise levels in entertainment venues, cinemas, clubs and at concerts to no more than 100 dB does not seem an unnecessary luxury. Indeed, even if the level has already been reduced to 100 dB, hearing protection should still be worn to prevent permanent hearing damage (!)

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