Noise and music exposure often lead to hearing loss, which is unfortunate because it’s preventable. While these two things seem quite different, with one being better than the other, they both have a similar effect on your hearing.
How Music Causes Hearing Loss
Research has shown that there are two main contributing factors to music related hearing loss. This includes the volume or intensity of the music and how long you’re exposed to it. So, there isn’t anything wrong with going to a rock concert Friday night as long as you limit the amount of time listening with unprotected hearing. This means that you need to wear some sort of hearing protection in order to protect your ears. It’s the combination of higher sound levels like this and how long you’re exposed to it that matters. Once you exceed a safe threshold too often you may permanently lose some of your hearing. Given enough time, you can lose quite a bit.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to know when your ears have had enough because they don’t bleed nor do they grow painful. Instead, too loud of music is rarely noticeable for many years. It also doesn’t help that a potentially damaging sound level can be very quiet. In fact, research shows that individuals who have prolonged exposure to 85 dB or greater of noise will eventually develop some hearing loss. An example of this level of sound includes:
Garbage disposal, dishwasher, average factory, freight train (at 15 meters). Car wash at 20 ft (89 dB); propeller plane flyover at 1000 ft (88 dB); diesel truck 40 mph at 50 ft (84 dB); diesel train at 45 mph at 100 ft (83 dB). Food blender (88 dB); milling machine (85 dB); garbage disposal (80 dB).
A couple of years ago I went with my daughter to an indoor concert in Tampa. I took my sound meter with me to see what the sound levels were. To my surprise, the average levels were between 108 and 116 dB! That is a dangerous amount of sound and I noticed that the young people were listening to the music, with NO ear protection, for the better part of 2 hours! My daughter however did have ear protection which lowered the overall volume 25 dB or so…not perfect, but much better than without.
How to Minimize Hearing Loss from Music
For another point of reference: When listening to a personal music system with stock earphones at a maximum volume, the sound generated can reach a level of over 100 dB, loud enough to begin causing permanent damage after just 15 minutes per day!
Now that you know what you shouldn’t do, here are some things that you should do:
- As humans we aren’t good at judging changes in sound level, even if we are a well-trained musician. Nevertheless, we need to decrease the sound level just a bit so we can be exposed to music for longer. Sure, you want to hear and enjoy the music, but you do not want to damage your hearing!
- When attending a concert, wear musician’s earplugs. These will treat all the music’s sound equally so its balance and enjoyment are maintained. By wearing these you’ll still be able to enjoy the music, but you can do so for a considerably longer and safer time.
Sometimes there isn’t anything you can do about the hearing loss you’ve suffered. When this happens, you may need hearing aids. For this you should trust the professionals at Countryside Hearing Aid Services. Over the years this is something they’ve successfully helped many people with. You should trust them enough to be their next patient.
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