Let’s find out with the test below. We recommend using headphones instead of earbuds and a quiet room. Once you start hearing a high pitch you can stop the test and find out what happened. No cheating!
Congrats, if you got a decent score, now let’s make sure you keep it that way. If not, it may be time for some damage control.
What just happened?
Are you like me, one of the cool kids on the block who doesn’t shy away from a long night of epic partying? You will encounter sound, noise and music. Ow. What the Heck, if you don’t party, you’ll encounter those too. Who am I kidding?
You probably heard the part of hearing damage quadrillion times so I’ll keep it as short and simple as possible.
Sound waves are travelling vibrations, these vibrations move through matter or space such as air water and so on. Sound doesn’t move through a vacuum because there are no atoms in a vacuum or void that can vibrate.
Very very technical
Sound vibrations move in longitudinal waves and strikes the eardrum. Here the vibrations get amplified by three bones (the auditory ossicles) on through the basilar membrane on a fluid filled part.
This fluid will cause very tiny hair cells around 20 000 of them to move in the ear. The moves of the microscopic hair cells send electrical impulses to the brain, which interpret it as sound.
When you suffer from tinnitus or Disco deafness (sorry, it isn’t as cool as it sounds), the unrepairable broken hair cells often are the reason.
Let’s get loud… but not too loud
Exposure to loud noise for a long time will damage the ear. That’s a cold fact.
For every added 3 dB, the pressure on your eardrums doubles. Sound under 75 dB is safe. When we crank up the volume from here we should be cautious.
When we take this in to account we can do some math.
|dB||Is it safe?|
|80||16 hours||crossing train, alarm clock|
|85||8 hours||yelling, mp3 player, truck|
|88||4 hours||heavy truck|
|91||2 hours||club , concert, mp3 player|
|94||1 hour||club , concert, mp3 player|
|97||30 min||club, concert, cinema, mp3 player|
|100||15 min||club, concert, cinema, mp3 player|
Decibels are about the volume of sound and Hertz is about the frequency of the waves, high or low tones. An average person can hear sound ranging from 20 Hz or 20 cycles per second to 20.000 Hz. As people get older the ears won’t be able to hear high pitch sound. Listening to high pitch sound for too long is once again not very smart.
The most important take away here, is that preventing exposure to loud sounds or high pitch sound is basically the only option. Once damaged there is no ctrl+z. Give your ears some rest from time to time.