A lawn mower can exceed 85 decibels of sound. According to Jim Battey, director of the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders in Bethesda, Maryland, exposure to this level of sound over time is enough to cause permanent hearing loss. But you can prevent hearing loss by protecting your ears from prolonged exposure to sound produced by lawn mowers.
Limit your exposure to the noise. Sound that is over 80 decibels, like a lawnmower, can eventually damage the cochlea, an chamber in the inner ear lined with tiny hair cells that transmits sounds to the auditory nerve, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association said in "Noise and Hearing Loss." Noises that are over 100 decibels can permanently damage your hearing after only 15 minutes, according to sound mitigation company Sound Barriers. When mowing the lawn, time your exposure with a stop watch. Shut off the mower and take a break every 15 minutes.
Purchase ear plugs that are rated to block out noise levels greater than 90 decibels. Some examples of these include foam ear plugs that are designed to be inserted into your ears, and shooter's ear muffs that cover the entire ear.
Follow package directions for correct use of ear plugs. Foam ear plugs are typically crushed and inserted into the ear canal, where they expand to block noise, while shooter's ear plugs cover the ear like a pair of ear muffs.