Hobbies are a regular part of life for many people, and offer great benefits to overall quality of life and enjoyment. 

However, some hobbies can mean being subjected to very loud noise, sometimes for a sustained period of time. Given that any sound over 85 decibels can cause damage to hearing health, wearing ear protection when engaging in the following loud hobbies is absolutely essential.

Using power tools for DIY projects 

DIY is an eternally popular hobby, but in terms of noise, the power tools required to complete a project can be harmful. An electric drill can be up to 95 dB, and a power saw can reach 110 dB, so even if you are only using the tool for a short period, ear protection is definitely required.

Going to musical events 

Attending a symphony performance can result in exposure to up to 110 dB, and rock concerts are even more concerning at around 120 dB – so ear protection will always be required. If you’re concerned that using ear protection will prevent you from hearing the music, then worry not; you should find that the sound is actually more pleasant, clear, and easier to listen to. 

Playing an instrument 

The vast majority of musical instruments can reach far above 85 dB, and even relatively small instruments can be problematic: playing a piccolo, for example, can reach 112 dB. Wearing ear protection while playing will ensure your hearing is protected during every practice session. 


In terms of hobbies that can harm hearing, anything involving shooting poses perhaps the biggest risk. A small caliber rifle produces around 140 dB, and larger firearms can reach in excess of 170 dB – which means that exposure to a single shot, without wearing ear protection, is more than enough to damage your hearing.


Gardening is often seen as a rather gentle pursuit, but if you use electronic tools to help speed up the work, then the decibel exposure can quickly become a problem. Lawn mowers can produce around 95 dB, hedge trimmers can reach 103 dB and leaf blowers up to 112 dB, so always wear ear protection when these tools are in use.

Watching or participating in motorsports 

Motorsports can be incredibly loud, both for spectators watching an event and for riders. Drag racing has been called the loudest sport on the planet, and riding a motorbike can – at around 65mph – means that the rider is exposed to around 116 dB. So, if your hobby involves an engine, then ear protection is essential.

Attending football games 

The crowd noise at football games can vary, but 117 dB is more than possible – and the loudest crowds have topped 140 dB. Wearing ear protection will allow you to enjoy the thrill of the game-day experience while also making sure your hearing is sufficiently protected. 

if you participate in any of the above hobbies, then visiting an audiologist for further advice on ear protection is by far the best thing you can do for your future hearing health.