Hearing: The effects of noise

W. W. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


We live in a noisy world. The clamor and din of modern society has increased in variety, if not in prevalence and intensity, in the past decades, making noise America's most widespread nuisance. Excessive noise exposure annoys individuals, produces stress, impairs the ability to communicate, interferes with work and play activities, and, in high enough doses, produces permanent damage to the auditory system, which leads to significant hearing loss. Noise exposure associated with the workplace has been known to produce hearing loss for centuries. More than 20 years ago the U.S. Department of Labor promulgated regulations designed to protect the hearing of employees who work in noisy environments. However, these regulations failed to consider noise exposures outside the workplace, and recent evidence suggests that these exposures are potentially hazardous for millions of Americans. The most important sources of nonoccupational noise exposure are hunting and target shooting, listening to amplified music through headphones, and attendance at rock concerts. For each source, an assessment of risk of hearing loss is made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-678
Number of pages10
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1992


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