What You Should Know about Decibels—The Safe Decibels - Hear More Associates


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Decibels are the unit of measurement used to describe sounds. An abbreviation for decibel is dB. Sounds below 70 dB are considered safe for our ears—that’s the sound level of a normal conversation. The sound of heavy traffic inside a car reaches about 80 dB. That’s almost twice as loud as a normal conversation.

The volume of a sound is measured in decibels (dB). Doubling the decibel rating of a sound gives an impression of it being twice as loud (10 × 10). If we can have a conversation with one another at a distance of an arm’s length, or if we can hear the music coming from someone else’s headphones, these sounds must be about 85 dB or higher. Sounds at or above 120 dB are hazardous to our hearing and should not be listened to for long periods.

Most headphones and earbuds can reach as loud as 100 dB or more, so we should avoid listening to music at maximum volume levels. This protects us while still allowing us to listen to our favorite things. 

Today, let’s dive deeper into what you need to know about safe decibels.

What Can You Use to Measure Decibels?

It’s best to use a sound level meter with a microphone attached. This will allow you to hear the sound louder and clearer. Such tools are often used for sound testing and research.

The scale for measuring decibels is logarithmic. Every change of 10 in decibels represents a doubling or halving of loudness, depending on whether the sound is getting louder or quieter. If you are trying to measure the decibel level, you won’t have to have advanced knowledge of decibels. If you can, you can just use your ear and the chart below to measure the decibels level.

How to Prevent Damage to Your Ears?

There are ways to prevent damage to your ears when listening to headphones or earbuds. Here are some of them:

1. Take Regular Breaks

It’s best to take regular breaks from listening to headphones or earbuds. This can be accomplished by listening to music at lower decibels and taking regular breaks to give your ears a rest from loud sounds.

2. Avoid Reducing Sound Levels Yourself

When using headphones or earbuds, do not turn the volume up yourself. If you listen to music at a decibel level above 90 dB, your ears may be damaged without you knowing it. Your ears are like tissues and can easily be damaged when exposed to loud sounds for long periods.

3. Do Not Expose Your Ears to Loud Sounds

It’s best to keep your ears away from loud sounds. Even though you are listening to them with headphones or earbuds, the damage to your ears will still be present. The damage will only be hidden and will only surface when the damage is already done.

4. Use Headphones or Earbuds Less

It’s best not to use headphones or earbuds at all. Listening to music with headphones or earbuds is not the only way to listen to music. You can still listen to music on your smartphone or other devices using the loudspeaker.

5. Try Using Headphones or Earbuds with a Volume Limiter

There are some headphones or earbuds that have volume limiters. If you plan to purchase new headphones or earbuds, you can purchase those with a volume limiter. This will help you prevent unnecessary damage to your ears.

The Bottom Line

You need to familiarize yourself with decibels and the damage caused to your ears when exposed to loud sounds. When you’re listening to headphones or earbuds, be sure not to turn the volume too high. If you listen to loud sounds for long periods, you can damage your ears without knowing it.

If you are looking for the best hearing aids available, we can help you. Hear More Associates are the most trusted hearing care specialists throughout Lexington and Greater Boston, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Our goal is to help our patients live comfortably to the fullest. Schedule an appointment with us today!

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