Listen Up! Noises Can Damage Your Hearing

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Sounds surround us. We enjoy many of them—like music, birdsong, and conversations with friends. But loud or long-lasting noises—from motors, power tools, and even headphones—can permanently damage your hearing. Take steps to protect your ears from harmful noises.

Loud noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. An estimated 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 already have irreversible hearing loss caused by loud sounds. And up to 16% of teens have hearing loss that may have been caused by loud noise.

“Noise damage can begin at any age, and it tends to accumulate over time. That’s why avoiding excess noise is so critical,” says Dr. Gordon Hughes, a clinical trials director and ear, nose, and throat specialist at NIH. “Hearing loss caused by noise is completely preventable.”

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