Consumer Reports tackles tinnitus

Photo credit: Frmir licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

This article by Hallie Levine in Consumer Reports discusses tinnitus. The advice is generally sound, with one exception–the article states that “any noise over 85 decibels can damage hearing.” This isn’t accurate.

The auditory injury threshold is only 75-78 A-weighted decibels (dBA), and 85 dBA is the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Recommended Exposure Level for occupational noise, not a safe noise exposure level for the public. I wrote about this in the American Journal of Public Health and the NIOSH Science Blog also covered this topic.

But the basic message is correct: avoid loud noise, protect your hearing, and you won’t develop tinnitus from noise exposure.

And remember, if it sounds too loud, it IS too loud.

Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He is the founding chair of The Quiet Coalition, an organization of science, health, and legal professionals concerned about the impacts of noise on health, environment, learning, productivity, and quality of life in America. Dr Fink also is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’ Health Advisory Council, and he served on the board of the American Tinnitus Association from 2015-2018.

Comments (2)

  1. Valerie Webber

    What can one do about honking horns and sirens,they go on all day, even at night there’s no let up. This morning at 4 AM A garabage hauler woke me up. It never stops.

    1. GMB (Post author)

      Have you checked to see if your town or city has a noise code? Most do. Then reach out to a local politician, like a ward leader, alderman, or city council person. And, of course, you aren’t the only one who is bothered by the noise, so check local community gatherings, do an internet search for local community/citizen groups, or check out the Nextdoor app and ask people in your neighborhood if they are having the same problem.
      And good luck!


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