Investigation: How everyday activities are damaging your hearing

FOX 46 is investigating potentially dangerous noise levels. It's something you're exposed to almost daily and it can be hazardous to your hearing. 

Our Matt Grant started the investigation at The Dirt Track at Charlotte where modified dirt cars whizzed by in a blur of bright colors. 

“Yeah it's loud but it's fun it's entertainment,” said one Dirt Track fan.

Painfully loud, according to Matt, and the decibel reader showed why: The noise at the Dirt Track was clocked at 125 decibels louder than a rock concert and a jet plane on takeoff. 

“Oh my goodness. Yes, that's definitely very loud,” said Fayne Fischer, a Clinical Audiologist with Charlotte Eye Ears Nose and Throat Associates.

Anything over 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss over an extended period of time. We found those levels at movie theaters, and popular spin studios across the country, where music meant to move you is louder than a bulldozer and few take advantage of the free ear plugs.

“The highest doze you measured was 547% that's essentially an entire week's worth of noise in one session,” said Dr. Colleen Le Prell, a professor of hearing science. 

Dr. Le Prell says the readings exceed OSHA’s permissible exposure limit after two classes.

“Add in a third class and these instructors would be in a position where they would be required to wear hearing protection,” said Dr. Le Prell. 

Back at Charlotte Eye Ears Nose and Throat Associates our Matt Grant got his hearing checked. 

“Every time you hear the beeping sound raise your hand,” Fischer instructed. 

“How did I do?” Matt asked. 

“Oh you actually had a little bit of hearing loss,” Fischer told him. 

 Not much but enough to get the message loud and clear: Protect your ears!