The loudness of sound is measured in decibels (dB). The scale is given a weighting of dB(A) after correction for the perception of the human ear.

The scale ranges between 0 dB(A) to 180 dB(A)–representing the softest sound the human ear can detect to the blasting noise from a rocket launch at the two extremes, respectively. It is important to also note that Decibels are logarithmic–meaning that, if the dB level rises by 10, the loudness of sound rises tenfold.

Everyone’s sensitivity to sound is different. Generally, sound intensities higher than 80 dB(A) can impair hearing. As a rule of thumb, when you have to raise your voice in order to be heard in a noisy environment, the background noise level is 80 dB(A) or higher.

db scale

There are three key factors that affect whether and by how much a sound will damage your hearing:

  1. Decibel level: How loud the sound is.
  2. Distance: How close you are to the source of the sound.
  3. Time: The length of time you are exposed to the sound.

Exposure to excessively loud noises for even a short time, such as an explosion or gunfire, can lead to instant and even permanent hearing loss. However, hearing loss is generally more likely to result from sounds that aren’t as loud but you are exposed to repeatedly for long periods.

Some examples of noisy activities that could damage your hearing are:

  • Listening to loud music through headphones, at a concert, or while you’re playing an instrument
  • Going to the movies or cranking up the volume on the TV at home
  • Cranking up the volume on the stereo in the car
  • Going to sporting events attended by large, noisy crowds
  • Going to fireworks shows
  • Working with loud power tools

Your hearing might return to normal a day or two after you’ve been exposed to loud noises. Recent research suggests, however, that your hearing can be permanently damaged even if you don’t have noticeable hearing loss right away.


Because noise induced hearing loss can build slowly over time, you might not notice the early signs of hearing loss. As your hearing gets worse, certain sounds–particularly speech–begin to sound muffled. As a result, you may experience:

  • Noise becoming painful
  • Tinnitus: ringing/ buzzing/ other sounds in the ears
  • Sounds generally heard being more quietly than usual
  • Asking others to repeat themselves more often
  • Difficulties hearing conversation in noisy environments
  • Problems hearing over the telephone
  • TV volume going up


  • Keep the volume down
  • Limit the time spent in noisy activities
  • Invest in hearing protection products to use when in loud noisy environments
  • Heed the warning signs of hearing loss
  • Monitor safe listening levels through smartphone apps
  • Get regular hearing check-ups


London Ear Centre is able to advise on and arrange the most effective and suitable customised protective earware for individuals that may be at risk of hearing and ear damage.

There is a wide array of custom protective earware available to choose from depending on your needs. So, whether you need protection from harmful loud noise, have trouble with water getting in your ears, or simply would like stylish personalised earphones, we will be able to source the ideal bespoke solution for you.

We offer the following custom-made protective earware:

  • Swim plugs
  • Sleep plugs
  • Solid Noise plugs
  • Filtered Noise plugs
  • Filtered Musician plugs
  • Shooting plugs
  • Motorcycle plugs
  • Presenter plugs
  • In-ear monitors
  • Earphone sleeves
  • Hearing aid moulds


Due to the bespoke nature of these products we will need to take impressions (model imprints) of your ears in the first instance. We also offer this as a separate service for those that have already purchased their own custom earware products elsewhere and require ear impressions to complete their order.

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