How to protect your hearing and keep ears safe

  • 6 February 2013
Beyonce singing

About 1 in 10 adults has damaged hearing which can be caused by loud music and noises. Here's Newsround's guide to keeping your ears safe.

Why does loud music harm our ears?

Our ears are sensitive instruments and loud music can damage tiny hairs inside the ear that help us hear properly.

When the hairs are damaged they can't be fixed and a lot of people are left with a ringing or whistling noise in their ears.

We call this tinnitus and people find it very annoying!

How loud is too loud?

Sound is measured in units called decibels. An electric drill makes about 100 decibels of noise - that's pretty loud!

A phone showing sound levels

Some music players can go up to 120 decibels which is the same as a plane taking off. Sounds that loud can damage your ears.

80 decibels is thought to be the safe upper limit for listening to music. People who can't hear music at 80 decibels might need special noise-cancelling headphones.

Top tips to keep ears safe

  • Use headphones at a sensible volume. Read any safety warnings that pop up on your music player.
  • Stand away from speakers at shows and events.
  • If you're going somewhere loud like a concert wear foam ear plugs to reduce the volume.
  • If you are worried about your hearing or have ringing in your ears tell a parent or teacher.