Scientists have revealed that temporary hearing loss and tinnitus are both symptoms of exposure to loud sounds for a substantial period. The severity of the hearing loss or ringing sensation, known as tinnitus, varies based on the length of the exposure to the sound. In short-term exposures, most people experience temporary hearing loss or a ringing sensation in the ear, which usually improves as the sensory cells recover. Considering how serious of an issue this is, you’ll want to do all you can to take care of your hearing. One of the best ways to do this is through safe listening. But what is safe listening? If you want to know the answer to this question, read on as we break down everything you need to know about safe listening.
Can Loud Sounds Cause Hearing Loss?
When a person attends a concert, they often hear ringing in their ears, and this condition improves as the sensory cells that were damaged recover. However, when a person is exposed to a noisy environment over an extended period of time, such as at a factory, hearing loss can occur. These occurrences cause permanent damage to hearing.
The first signs of permanent hearing loss may not be immediately noticeable, even if exposure to loud noises continues. Scientists have found that continued exposure to this frequency of sound may cause hearing loss, which can ultimately affect speech comprehension. Hearing loss can impact the quality of life for an individual, and studies have shown that some people are more at risk than others of hearing loss caused by noise. Some factors that increase the likelihood of developing a noise-induced hearing loss include genetic predisposition, cigarette smoking, and a chronic disease (e.g., diabetes).
What Is Safe Listening?
The amount of sound energy humans can safely receive is directly influenced by three factors: the intensity of the sound (loudness), how long it is played (duration), and how often it is played (frequency). The permissible amounts of everyday exposure to noise have been calculated based on these factors. The maximum safe exposure level has been set at 85 dB, with no more than eight hours per day. The amount of time a person can listen to a given noise without being at risk drops as the sound increases in intensity. For example, a subway train measures at around 100 dB, so it’s best to avoid prolonged exposure.
Keep in mind that the output levels of personal audio devices vary. The highest volume a user of a personal audio device may choose to use is 136 dB, but the typical volume range is between 75 and 105 dB. The sound level in nightclubs, discothèques, and bars can be as high as that in manufacturing plants, where workers are exposed to a daily average of 85 decibels. The noise levels at concerts and huge musical events may be even higher. Patrons may expose themselves to the same level of loudness in 15 minutes of music at 100 dB that an industrial worker gets in an 8-hour day at 85 dB.
How Do You Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?
There are several things you can do to combat noise-induced hearing loss. One simple change you can make is to lower the volume of your audio devices. Another thing you can do is to avoid spending long periods of time in noisy environments. If you really can’t avoid noise, be sure to take short listening breaks from noisy spaces.
We hope this article proves to be useful when it comes to helping you gain a better understanding of what safe listening is. Be sure to utilize this information so that you can preserve your hearing for as long as possible.
Get a free hearing test in Lexington at Hear More Associates if you want to learn more about your ear health. We are the most trusted hearing care specialists, so we can discuss the best care options for you. Call us at 781-863-8282 for more information.