As a prosperous, industrialized northeastern state, Massachusetts is full of potential hazards to your hearing. Its economic success has created new threats, from the sounds of heavy machinery to construction sites and traffic on I-95. In the US, 22 million people are exposed to potentially hazardous noise levels at work. But work isn’t the end of the hearing loss story. You can also damage your hearing during leisure hours, even without knowing that you’re putting yourself at risk. For example, around 40,000 people own guns in Massachusetts.
On average, a gunshot creates between 140 and 190db of noise – well above the level deemed hazardous by most experts (around 85db). But even activities like watching the Red Sox can be a risk to your ears. Baseball crowds can generate as much as 105db, while noise levels are similar in the NFL, where Patriots fans are exposed to 80-90db of noise on a regular basis. You won’t necessarily feel the effects of this noise level immediately, but it does build up over time. The same applies to live music, a major passion in Boston. Whether you’re at Brighton Music Hall or the House of Blues, concerts tend to create 115-120db – more than enough to damage your hearing.
Finally, the urbanized nature of Massachusetts means that almost everyone is exposed to traffic noise. When you realize that a diesel truck can generate 80-90db of noise, you start to understand why the state’s roads are a major contributor to hearing loss.