Scientists say hearing loss can cause social isolation and depression. Luckily, there are simple things you can do every day to prevent long-term ear damage. First off, pay attention to this guideline from the Occupational Safety & Health Administration: Don't expose yourself to noises that are 100 decibels or higher for more than 15 minutes a day. To get an idea of what 100 decibels means in the real world, here are some noisy activities you should limit.
1. Listening to loud music
This one's obvious but worth a reminder. You can only listen to your iPod at its max of 100 to 115 decibels for about eight minutes before causing harm, warns Sharon Sandridge, PhD, director of clinical services in audiology at the Cleveland Clinic. "There's nothing wrong with listening to music, all day every day -- as long as it's below about 85 decibels," says Robert K. Jackler, M.D., chairman of the department of otolaryngology at Stanford University. That's especially true when you're using ear