So a few days ago at night I’m out getting groceries, as soon as I head for my car, there is another car about to take off, the driver intentionally revs their engine loud to trigger the car alarm parked next to me, I was wearing ear plugs with a NRR rating of 33. I was only exposed to the car alarm for at least 5 to 10 seconds. Fast forward to now and I’m noticing a slight hearing loss in one ear, and my ear is ringing a little bit. I don’t know how loud the car alarm was that night, But I have a few questions, what is the normal median decibel level for car alarms? And Is my hearing damage permanent? Can I press charges at the driver for technical assault?
The Internet says that most car alarms can produce sound at the level of 120 to 125 decibels. If you were wearing earplugs with an NRR rating of 33 and they were working properly, it is doubtful that you suffered any permanent hearing damage. The car alarm would have had to be considerably louder than average.
Also, unless you had an audiogram shortly before the incident and one soon after it, you might have trouble proving that any hearing loss was specifically caused by the incident you describe.
Just a general observation but the relative popularity of car alarms set off by motion or sound near them seems to have declined considerably from the good old days. Perhaps that is because a certain segment of the population, when blasted by such an obnoxious car alarm, turns around and trashes the car emitting the alarm?!
Get someone to check for ear wax impaction, which can be fairly common with earplug use, ignore the ringing–it will likely calm down eventually if you don’t stress about it, but not as quickly as you would like.
You might want to see someone about those anxiety issues though.