How to Prevent Hearing Loss While Mowing the Lawn


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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Tips and Warnings

  • Follow packaging directions exactly for ear plugs. Earplugs that are inserted incorrectly can damage your hearing. Never insert dirty ear plugs into your ears. Doing so may cause infection.

Things You'll Need

  • Ear protection


  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: Noise and Hearing Loss
  • Sound Barriers: How to Prevent Hearing Loss
  • The Orange County Register: Safe Mowing Tips Help You Avoid Injury

Who Can Help

  • Centers for Disease Control: Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention
Keywords: hearing loss prevention, ear muffs, noise pollution

About this Author

After 10 years experience in writing, Tracy S. Morris has countless articles and two novels to her credit. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets" and "CatFancy," as well as the "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World," and several websites.