How loud is too loud?Listening to any sound over 85dB can cause permanent hearing loss, tinnitus or both. It can be hard to tell how loud is too loud, but if you can’t talk to someone who’s about 2m (6ft) away without shouting, it’s likely that noise levels are dangerously high. Here are some examples so you know when to use hearing protection:
85dB – food blender
88dB – heavy traffic
91dB – pneumatic drill
94dB – lawnmower 97dB – fire alarm 100dB – nightclub 110dB – live gig or concert 120dB – fireworks 130dB – aeroplane taking off 100m away
Taking action on noise
- At nightclubs, concerts, festivals and gigs
You’re at risk of hearing damage after just 15 minutes in an average nightclub, which plays music at 100dB. Follow these simple tips to protect your ears, so you can carry on enjoying the music you love.
- Using headphones
Listening to loud music through headphones is one of the biggest risks to your hearing. Invest in some noise-cancelling headphones so you don’t have to increase the volume to a dangerous level to hear your music over background noise. The NHS recommends taking a break for at least five minutes every hour to give your ears a rest.
- In loud workplaces
If you work in a noisy environment – such as a factory, building site or music venue – your employer should ensure you have hearing protection. If noise exposure reaches 80dB, they have a legal duty to take action. Find out more here.
- At firework displays
The noise at a firework display averages around 120dB and some fireworks can reach 155dB in volume. This means that just a few seconds of standing too close to fireworks can potentially cause permanent hearing damage. Find out how to protect your family’s ears here.
- During noisy activities
For DIY enthusiasts, noise levels from the prolonged use of power tools during home maintenance or vehicle repairs can cause hearing damage. For motorcyclists, wind and engine noise are a constant problem. Our noise-filtering earplugs can help – see below.
- Snoring and other anti-social noises
Noise levels above 40dB can start to disturb sleep. Snoring can range from about 50dB to an uncomfortable 100+dB. Noisy neighbours and incessant traffic can also be intrusive. Extended exposure to loud noise at night not only causes insomnia, it can damage your hearing. Find out more here.
How to protect your family’s hearing
You can protect your hearing by lowering the volume of music, reducing the time you’re exposed to excessive noise, and using earplugs or ear defenders in loud environments. Our hearing protection range includes products to keep the whole family’s ears safe from harmful soundwaves:
Protect your child's ears with a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Made by 3M Peltor, the market leader in hearing protection, these comfortable ear defenders are specifically designed to protect younger wearers against dangerous noise levels. And every purchase includes a £1 donation to help fund our vital work.
• Volume reduced by up to 27dB
• Adjustable headband to fit children of all ages
• Foam padding for extra protection
• Available in blue or red.
These earplugs have a high-quality filter system that reduces the volume to a safe level without distorting the sound. You can easily stay at a festival all day or go clubbing all night without having to worry about damaging your hearing. Plus, they’re reusable, comfortable and almost invisible.
• Made from soft, premium silicone
• Integrated lug for easy removal
• Aluminium carry case.
Noise levels from DIY power tools, such as electric drills, petrol lawn mowers and jet washes, can damage hearing, especially with prolonged use. Protect your ears during home maintenance, gardening and vehicle repairs using ProGuard DIYplugz earplugs. They reduce sound by 24dB, bringing the noise down to safe levels and extending exposure times.
• Universal fit – two sizes of eartips supplied (small and regular)
• Vented design eliminates occlusion effect
• Reusable and washable
• Small metal keyring container.
BikerPlugz earplugs are designed for motorcyclists and other motorsports enthusiasts to protect ears from high noise levels inside the motorcycle helmet. The in-built noise filter reduces sound by 19dB and it has an open air passage to keep ears ventilated. Important sounds and warnings can still be heard but at a safer level.
• Comfortable fit even under tight helmets
• Offer protection up to noise levels of 100dB
• Two eartip sizes supplied (small and medium)
• Reusable and washable.
If you’re kept awake by snoring, loud neighbours or incessant traffic, ProGuard SleepPlugz can bring welcome relief. These noise-filtering earplugs reduce intrusive noise by 24dB to help you sleep, but you’ll stay situation aware. You’ll still hear important household sounds like the doorbell, phone, and alarm clock.
• Open air passage keeps the ear ventilated and cool
• Two eartip sizes provided (small and medium)
• Comfortable to wear
• Reusable and washable.
Find out more
For full details about the featured products, click the ‘More Information’ button underneath each description above, or view our full hearing protection range.
You can also contact our expert Customer Services team who will advise on hearing protection for you and your family:
Telephone 03330 144 525
Textphone 03330 144 530
Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5.30pm.
We’re the only UK charity with a full range of products for people living with deafness, hearing loss and tinnitus, so we’re the ideal source of impartial advice. And every purchase means that you’re helping fund research to cure hearing loss within a generation.