How loud is too loud? Sound can cause hearing loss at a level of 85 or more dBA (A-weighted decibels). The louder a sound is, the faster it can damage your hearing. According to the CDC, 5 in 10 young people listen to their music or other audio too loudly and more than 1 in 2 adults in the US have noise-induced hearing loss but do not have noisy jobs. The problem with loud noises is that they can permanently damage your hearing from repeated or extended exposure - but if the sound is loud enough, even 2 minutes of exposure can cause damage to your hearing. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is entirely preventable, but once NIHL occurs, it is permanent and cannot be undone.
People generally wait 10 years on average to seek treatment even after being diagnosed with treatable hearing loss, often only until the problem has worsened to an unbearable degree. While this kind of approach is understandable, there are serious reasons why seeking treatment for hearing loss should actually be a top priority. It turns out that our sense of hearing is deeply integral to our overall well-being.