There’s the famous scene in the movie “Wayne’s World” where Wayne and Garth drive down the highway and sing to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Wayne and Garth lip sing the lyrics, bang their heads at the guitar solo and enjoy a night out with their friends.
This was – and continues to be – a popular scene in cars all across the country. A person’s favorite song comes on the radio (or their mobile streaming service) and the volume gets turned up. People continue to do it, because as Wayne and Garth showed more than 20 years ago, well – it’s a lot of fun.
But it can also be very dangerous.
A Billion with Hearing Loss
The World Health Organization recently reported that more than 1 billion teens and young adults across the world are at risk for hearing loss. While there are many factors that contribute to hearing loss, the top one – and the most preventable – is listening to music or other noises at high volumes.
Everything from hanging out in loud bars or nightclubs to attending raucous sporting events can damage hearing, but so can a pair of earbuds or headphones when the volume is cranked up.
The WHO analyzed the listening habits of 12- to 35-year-olds in wealthier countries around the world. The study found that nearly half of those tested listen to sound at unsafe levels on personal audio devices and about 40 percent are exposed to damaging levels of music and noise at entertainment venues.
Listen to a Rock Star
Chris Martin is the lead singer of Coldplay, one of the world’s most popular bands. He is accustomed to selling out large venues all around the world, and recently performed the halftime show at Super Bowl 50. He also suffers from tinnitus – hearing loss that causes a permanent and irritating ringing in the years.
“Looking after your ears is unfortunately something you don’t think about until there’s a problem,” Martin told CNN. “I’ve had tinnitus for about 10 years, and since I started protecting my ears, it hasn’t got any worse, but I wish I’d thought about it earlier.”
Of course, not everyone is an international rock star that plays dozens of shows a year. Chances are, though, you may be one of the millions of people who walk around town, ride the subway or spend your workday with headphones pumping music. An unsafe level of sound, the WHO says, can be 85 decibels for eight hours or 100 decibels for just 15 minutes.
That, of course, is not very much. England’s National Health Service lists some of the decibel levels of some common activities. A normal conversation is 60 to 65 decibels. A busy street can be 75 decibels while a lawnmower is 85 decibels. Motorcycles reach 100 decibels, nightclub music is typically 110 decibels while a rock concert can be 120 decibels.
What to Do
The NHS has a handful of useful tips that you can use to help protect your hearing. As you can see from the list above, there are some situations that cannot be avoided, like a loud motorcycle starting up across the street. A number of these, though, can be avoided or at least mitigated to reduce long-term effects.
Damage comes from a combination of the length and intensity of the volume. Protect your ears with earplugs or earmuffs if you know you’ll be a loud situation and get away from noises when possible. If you are at a venue, go outside for a 10-minute break regularly to give your ears some time to recover.
Use the 60:60 Rule
This is great advice for those of use that listen to music throughout the day. The 60:60 rules states that listeners should have their music at 60 percent of maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes a day.
Get Good Headphones
Purchase noise-canceling headphones or go with the old-school earmuff style. Many earbuds allow too much outside noise in, so you are more likely to turn up the volume to the level you want. With a quality pair of headphones, though, you will have less background noise and can better enjoy your music at a lower level.
Don’t Put Up with Work Noise
As more offices go to open environments to increase collaboration, the noise level can go up. As a result, many turn to headphones and music to drown out the sometimes-distracting banter. If you find yourself in this situation, do something about it. Talk to your human resources manager about the problem and hopefully he or she can encourage the noise level to stop, or move you to a more quiet location.
Have a Hearing Detox
Sometimes your ears just need a rest. If you’ve been exposed to loud noise for a long period of time – such as a rock concert – England’s Action on Hearing Loss recommends at least 16 hours of rest. Find a quiet place and only interact with quiet media or enjoy an activity like reading that does not involve any noise at all.
At Electronic Shooters Protection, our mission is to help protect the hearing of those who are regularly exposed to loud noises, whether that’s construction, hunting or competitive shooting. Gun shots can create high-decibel, hearing-damaging sounds that can cause lasting problems for the person firing the gun. ESP’s hearing protectors can protect you from dangerously loud sounds without compromising your ability to hear your natural surroundings.
We want your hearing to stay protected and have created an innovative way to protect your ears. Check out our selection of cutting-edge hearing protection devices now, or call us today at 303-659-8844 to learn more.