Inner Ear

Noise Damage

Noise Exposure is the most common cause of sensorineural hearing loss in New Zealand. Many of the tools and machinery used around the home and workplace can damage hearing even if they are not used for long or very often.

Normal Hearing Cells within the Cochlea

Damaged Cells

The hearing cells of the inner ear are damaged or become worn out by loud noise. As the cells are destroyed, hearing is lost. Often people with Noise Induced Deafness have tinnitus – loud ringing in their ears. Hearing is the base for communication and socialisation – our human quality of life depends on it.

Sound is measured in three ways:

  • pitch – how high or low the sound is – measured in frequency/Hertz/Hz
  • loudness – the level of the sound – measured in decibels/dB
  • exposure – the length of time the noise lasts

Some people are more sensitive to noise than others. Loud noise will damage anyone’s hearing. How much depends on the loudness and the duration of exposure.

Hearing protection like ear muffs or ear plugs must be worn when the daily noise levels exceeds 85dB over 8 hours.

As a general rule – if the noise is so loud that you have to shout to be heard by someone standing 1 metre away – your hearing is being damaged!