How loud does a sound have to be to cause a hearing loss?

Any sound above 85 dB can cause hearing loss, and the loss is related both to the power of the sound as well as the length of exposure. You know that you are listening to an 85-dB sound if you have to raise your voice to be heard by somebody else. Eight hours of 90-dB sound can cause damage to your ears; any exposure to 140-dB sound causes immediate damage (and causes actual pain)..

Here are some common sounds and their decibel ratings: .

Near total silence – 0 dB .

A whisper – 15 dB .

Normal conversation – 60 dB .

A lawnmower – 90 dB.

Motorcycle – 95 dB .

A car horn – 110 dB .

Wood shop, snowmobile – 100 dB .

A rock concert or a jet engine – 120 dB .

A gunshot or firecracker – 140 dB.