Prolonged noise pollution can be harmful to your hearing. Even when the noise is not loud, but constant, it can affect your ability to concentrate, your day and night rhythm and your overall health. Possible consequences of long-term noise exposure to hearing:
From 40 dB: learning and concentration problems
From 60 dB: damage to hearing after prolonged exposure
From 65 dB: 20% higher risk of cardiovascular disease with prolonged exposure
From 85 dB: range where damage to hearing occurs with prolonged exposure
From 120 dB: hearing damage possible immediately after exposure
Noise above 80 decibels can be harmful. Sounds of 120 decibels can directly damage your hearing. How damaging sounds between 80 and 120 decibels are depends on how often and how long you listen to them. An example: noise of 80 decibels you can “safely” hear for 8 hours a day (or 40 hours a week). Every 3 decibels added is a doubling of noise, leaving 83 decibels safe for only 4 hours a day (or 20 hours a week). And 86 decibels just 2 hours a day (or 10 hours a week). Noise of 103 decibels can damage your hearing in less than 5 minutes.
Determining a safe noise level depends on which standard you go by, the Occupational Health and Safety Standard of 80 decibels or the Leisure Standard of 88 decibels. The Leisure Standard is more lenient because people go out for an average of 10 years. The Occupational Health and Safety Standard assumes 40 years of work. View the maximum exposure according to the Occupational Health and Safety Standard and Leisure Standard here.