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June 7, 2019

Does loud music damage hearing?

Although attending concerts is a great social activity, it is wise to be aware of the impact on your hearing. Audiologist Susan Whiteside explains the risks of loud noise and how to protect yourself from permanent hearing damage.

How loud is too loud?

Construction workers have to wear hearing protection because the noise they’re exposed to could damage their ears, yet there are no requirements for concert goers.

Here’s a comparison of sound decibels:

  • Volume of a conversation from a distance of 1 metre is approximately 65 decibels.
  • A vacuum cleaner from 3 metres away is approximately 75 decibels.
  • At 80 decibels, the Ontario Ministry of Labour recommends hearing protection if exposed to for 8 hours.
  • A jackhammer from 15 metres away is approximately 95 decibels.
  • The volume at a typical concert and nightclub reaches 120 decibels. Recommended maximum exposure is only 15 minutes with no protection.

Sensations of fullness, numbness and ringing is a sign of temporary hearing loss. Short term, your ears might be able to recover. Repeated exposure can result in long term hearing loss. Musician style ear plugs are a great option to protect your hearing. They lower the decibels but retain the quality of the music. To measure how loud your environment is and how long you can be there before it’s dangerous to your hearing, try the Starkey – Sound Check app.

Remember: try standing further away from the speakers, take breaks from the sound and bring some ear plugs with you.

Protect your ears and enjoy your concert safely!


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