It's important to understand acceptable listening volumes when it comes to protecting our hearing. The disorder known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is prevalent yet avoidable.

Our goal at Aanvii Hearing is to teach you how to keep your hearing safe while engaging in your favorite hobbies.

What is Noise-Induced Hearing Loss?

Loud noises can cause damage to the microscopic hair cells in your inner ear, which can lead to noise-induced hearing loss. These hair cells convert sound waves into electrical signals that your brain interprets. Once these cells are damaged, they do not regenerate, resulting in permanent hearing loss. The CDC estimates that about 12.5% of children and teens aged 6-19 and 17% of adults aged 20-69 have permanent hearing damage due to noise exposure.

Also Read: Noise-Induced Hearing Loss: Causes, Effects, and Prevention

What's a Safe Listening Volume? | Aanvii Hearing

Identifying Harmful Noise Levels:

Sound is measured in decibels (dB). Prolonged exposure to sounds at or above 85dB can cause hearing damage.

What's a Safe Listening Volume? | Aanvii Hearing

Here are some typical noises and their corresponding decibel levels to help put this into perspective:

a. Normal conversation: 60-70dB

b. Heavy city traffic: 85dB

c. Motorcycle: 95dB

d. Music through headphones at maximum volume: 94-110dB

e. Sirens: 110-129dB

f.  Fireworks: 140-160dB

Sounds at or below 70dB are generally safe, even with prolonged exposure. However, as the decibel level increases, the amount of time you can safely listen decreases.

The 60/60 Rule:

The 60/60 rule states that you should listen to music at no more than 60% of the maximum volume for no more than 60 minutes at a time in order to preserve your hearing. After 60 minutes, give your ears a break to prevent damage. Many smartphones and music devices have volume limit settings or warnings to help you manage safe listening levels.

Recognizing the Signs of Hearing Damage:

Hearing loss due to noise exposure often develops gradually, making it easy to overlook. Be aware of these common signs of hearing damage:

a.  Difficulty understanding speech, especially in noisy environments

b.  Frequently asking others to repeat themselves

c.  Listening to the TV or radio at higher volumes than before

d.  Ringing, buzzing, or roaring in the ears (tinnitus)

e.  Feeling that sounds are muffled or distorted

f.  Protecting Your Ears

Also Read: 10 Signs You Might Have Hearing Loss

Aside from moderating your listening volume, there are other ways to protect your hearing:

a.  Use Ear Protection: When you're in an environment where loud noises are present, as at concerts, when using power tools, or when riding a motorcycle, put on some earmuffs or earplugs.

b.  Limit Your Exposure:  Cut down on the time you spend in noisy places. Take frequent breaks to allow your ears to relax if you are in a noisy environment.

c.  Keep Your Distance: Remain a safe distance away from the loud noise source. For instance, at concerts, take a more distant stance from the speakers.

Speak with an audiologist:

To keep your hearing in good condition, you must get regular checks. It's crucial to see an audiologist if you think you may have hearing loss or if you exhibit any of the symptoms listed. They can conduct a thorough evaluation of your hearing and offer tailored advice on how to preserve it.

What's a Safe Listening Volume? | Aanvii Hearing

Protecting your hearing is about making informed choices and taking proactive steps. By understanding safe listening volumes, recognizing the signs of hearing damage, and using protective measures, you can enjoy your favorite sounds without compromising your hearing health.

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