How Loud is Too Loud?

Protect your hearing by avoiding high decibels.

man with headphones

To prevent damage to your ears, don’t expose your ears to high-decibel volumes for an extended period of time. The louder the volume, the less time you should be exposed. Arnaldo Rivera, MD, medical director of MU Health Care’s ENT, Hearing and Balance Center, offers a look at decibel levels of common sounds. Decibel levels higher than 85 are harmful and hearing protection should be worn.

Sound Decibel level
Normal conversation, background music 60 dB
Vacuum cleaner, average radio 75 dB
Power lawnmower 88 dB (hearing damage in one hour)
Chainsaw, leaf blower 106-115 dB (hearing damage in 30 seconds)
Sports crowd, rock concert 120 dB (hearing damage in less than eight seconds)
Gunshot 140 dB (immediate danger to hearing)

Arnaldo Rivera, MD, Medical director of MU Health Care’s ENT, Hearing and Balance Center