Noise levels versus exposure time

dB(A) Time to reach limits
82 16 hours
83 12 hours
84 10 hours
85 8 hours
86 6 hours
87 5 hours
88 4 hours
89 3 hours
90 2 hrs 30 mins
91 2 hours
92 1hr 30 mins
93 1hr 15 mins
94 1 hour
95 45 mins
96 35 mins
97 30 mins
98 24 mins
99 19 mins
100 15 mins
101 12 mins
102 9 mins
103 7.5 mins
104 6 mins
105 5 mins
106 3.5 mins
107 3 mins
108 2.5 mins
109 2 mins
110 90 secs
111 80 secs
112 60 secs
113 30 secs
114 15 secs

Ever wondered how long you can be exposed to a noise before you reach the point at which the sound level has a significant risk to your hearing?

The safe limit for hearing is 85 decibels over eight hours but the higher the noise levels go then the shorter the time you can be exposure to it before your ears can take no more.

All the figures in this table are the times you would need to be exposed to the noise for before you reach the same exposure as 85 dB over eight hours, and into the area where hearing damage becomes a real risk.

As the noise levels go up these times become very short indeed. 

The best way to think about it is that you can have a set number of lumps of noise before it is too much and starts to damage your hearing. The limit in the regs is 85 of these lumps over 8 hours, but if you choose to have more, then you use up the lumps faster and then anything else becomes excessive.