Protect your hearing

Avoid noises that are too loud, too close or last too long

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is hearing damage caused by loud sounds such as amplified music from Mp3’s, concerts, clubs, and parties or home sound systems.

NIHL can be caused by a one-time exposure to an excessively loud sound or by ongoing exposure to loud sounds over a longer period of time.

How loud is too loud

When you hear someone shouting

Sound levels

Length of exposure that puts you at risk

a metre away from you

higher than 85 dBA

eight hours or more per day

30 cm away

higher than 95 dBA

about 45 minutes or more per day

into your ear

higher than 105 dBA

just five minutes per day

Find out more about typical sound levels.

Symptoms of NIHL?

  • distorted or muffled sound
  • difficulty understanding speech
  • ringing, buzzing, roaring, or rushing sound in the ear

If this happens to you, talk to your doctor

Protect your hearing

  • limit the time spent around excessive noise
  • wear a properly fitted hearing protection device such as earplugs, consult an audiologist if you need assistance.
  • sit or stand away from speakers at concerts
  • help your ears recover after being exposed to loud noises by spending time in a quiet place

For more information

City of Ottawa Noise By-law, includes Noise By-law Exemption Application form
Your Guide to What's Happening in Ottawa – festivals and fairs
Sound Sense
Canadian Hearing Society

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