Can loud music really affect your hearing? - AudioClinic

Can loud music really affect your hearing?

Published Date: November 25th 2014

Hearing is an incredibly important sense, and we all rely on it probably more than you’d guess. Anything you can do to help maintain your hearing health is beneficial, and anything that may harm your hearing health may be best avoided.

One of the things that can be detrimental to hearing health and lead to hearing loss is loud music. When loud music is played, the tiny hair cells in the ears pick up these sounds and convert them into electric signals, and those signals are sent to the brain so we can hear. If that music is too loud, the hair cells become overworked and can become damaged, according to MedlinePlus1.

Be sure to keep in mind these safe levels of listening to music next time you put on a pair of headphones, turn on the radio or go to a concert.

A decibel is a measurement of sound. The very softest sound you can hear is 0 dB, and the normal decibel level of speaking is anywhere between 4-60 dB1.

Hearing safety tips for wearing headphones

Headphones, such as those you wear with MP3 players, can reach decibel levels of up to 120, according to the American Osteopathic Association2.

At this level, you can damage your hearing in just 15 minutes2. As a rule of thumb, you should only listen to music at about 60 per cent of the capability of the headphones, or if you don’t know what that is, listen at a level where you can still hear what a person next to you is saying2.

Even at 60 per cent, headphones can still do damage if you listen for too long – so remember to keep the noise level down low.

Hearing safety tips for concerts

A concert’s decibel levels can range from 110 dB right up to 140 dB, depending on where you’re standing1.

If you’re not particularly interested in seeing the opening act, simply don’t go, as this will reduce the duration you are around the loud noise. While you’re in the concert, you can wear ear plugs. Normal earplugs from the store may muffle the sound, but earplugs made for musicians can be found at speciality stores that help protect hearing without diminishing the quality of the concert1.

To talk to a trained AudioClinic professional about your hearing health click here or call 1800 646 168 to book a no cost consultation.

1 MedlinePlus. Hearing Loss and Music. Accessed November 25 2014. Can be accessed here: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000495.htm

2 American Osteopathic Association. Hearing Loss and Headphones – Is Anyone Listening? Accessed November 25 2014. Can be accessed here: http://www.osteopathic.org/osteopathic-health/about-your-health/health-conditions-library/general-health/Pages/headphone-safety.aspx

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