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Ever been in a situation – be it at a bar, a dance club, a church or a movie theater – where the noise level felt uncomfortably loud, but everyone around you seemed to act as if it were normal? It turns out that some of these seemingly benign everyday noises are in fact too loud – and are potentially harmful to your hearing.

Cory Portnuff, an audiologist and hearing loss researcher at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, pays particular attention to recreational noise exposure. Portnuff explains that while most people associate hearing loss with loud noises in workplace environments such as construction sites, many Americans experience damage to their ears from everyday sounds like fireworks, concerts, off-road vehicles and more. But Portnuff writes that if people are more aware of the risks and take appropriate measures to protect their ears, much of this hearing loss is preventable.

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Amanda Mascarelli

Senior Health and Medicine Editor

Many movies reach sound levels of 85 decibels and beyond. GoodLifeStudio/E+ via Getty Images

Loud sounds at movies and concerts can cause hearing loss, but there are ways to protect your ears

Cory Portnuff, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

About 40 million Americans have hearing problems due to exposure to loud sounds.

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