Protecting Your Hearing

How Loud Is Too Loud?
Protecting Your Hearing

Even if your job doesn’t require critical listening like an audio engineer, it’s extremely important to take care of your hearing. For those of us in the audio industry who need our hearing to make a living, it’s imperative to care for it.

earbuds in an ear
Keep volume low when wearing earbuds

I’m not an ear doctor but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.  Actually, I didn’t but I have seen their commercials on TV.  They explained that everyone is born with a limited number of sensory hearing cells in their ears.  As we age, these nerves gradually die off.  You’ve probably noticed every now and then that little “ping” sound and then the ringing in your ears.  It slowly appears to return to normal.  Congratulations, you just lost some hearing! Once these sensory cells are gone, they do not grow back and ultimately we notice it as hearing loss. It’s just a fact of life.

Lawnmower cutting the grass
Prolonged loud noise such as the engine of a lawn mower

Environmental conditions can also accelerate hearing loss. Prolonged loud music, traffic, factory noise, construction equipment, etc. can all damage your hearing without adequate protection. I remember going to a Van Halen concert in high school and my ears rang for three days.  Now add up all the concerts you’ve been to and there probably has been some hearing damage.  I noticed after mowing the lawn that when I came back inside my ears would be ringing slightly. My grandfather was a carpenter and was around loud saws and hammers as well as other construction sounds and had extensive high frequency hearing loss.

rock concert
Loud music can damage your hearing

What I recommend is to get disposable earplugs.  They come in different noise reductions and a variety of colors.  For years now, when I mow the lawn, I always put in earplugs. It reduces the volume of the loud lawn equipment and my ears don’t ring anymore.  A number of my friends who are in the audio industry carry earplugs when they go to concerts. They discreetly put them in and can still enjoy the show without long term exposure to intense sound pressure levels.

hand holding disposable ear plugs
Disposable ear plugs

Try to turn down the music when listening with ear buds.  I know it sounds really good turned up loud but it’s basically two tiny little speakers blasting in your ears.  If it hurts, then it’s too loud.  Just be aware of the volume of sound in your environment and take the necessary precautions to protect your hearing.  Our hearing will diminish eventually so don’t make it go any faster.  If you feel that your hearing loss has gotten severe, make an appointment with a hearing specialist.  Listen safe!  If you found this article helpful, please share with your friends and colleagues.

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