The sound of someone whispering a secret, the music from a rock concert, or a car horn that beeps are all measured in decibels.
Decibels are a measurement of ratios between power, sound pressure, and voltage.
Sound intensity is measured in Decibels
Sound is the energy that moves in the form of waves. Frequencies and amplitude are measured.
Frequencies are recorded in Hertz (Hz) and measure the number of vibrations in one second. Amplitudes, which are on the decibel (dB) scale, measure the pressure or forcefulness. If a sound has more amplitude, it will be louder.
Decibels and Hearing Loss
High decibel levels can immediately destroy or even slowly deteriorate your ability to hear. It can happen from just one quick exposure during a loud blast, or it can gradually occur over time due to daily noise exposures. This is known as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), everyone exposed to loud noises is at risk of hearing loss. About 15 percent of Americans between 20 and 69 years of age experience hearing loss. This loss may have been induced by loud noise exposure while on the job or during recreational activities. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey from 2010 reported 16 percent of teens (ages 12-19) had some hearing loss that may have been caused by loud noise exposure.
Researchers studied the effects of NIHL. According to the sound levels of our environment, strong recommendations have been established for safe listening. You may ask yourself, “How do I know if a noise is too loud?” Generally, if you need to speak up louder than your normal speaking voice when talking to someone close-by, it means your environment is too loud. Remember that the louder the sound is, the shorter amount of time it takes to deteriorate your ability to hear. Being repeatedly exposed, or prolonging the exposure (over 8 hours per day) to noise that exceeds 85 dB, can result in permanent hearing loss.
Here are some examples of sounds that measure up to 85 dB:
The good news is that NIHL prevention is possible as long as you prepare. Be aware of your surroundings and make sure you always carry hearing protection (earplugs or earmuffs) if you plan to go to a concert, sports event (in a bar or arena), use power tools, ride a motorcycle or use lawn equipment. Under these circumstances, you risk exposure to noise levels that exceed 85 dB. We advise that you invest in proper hearing protection.
If you are unsure what type of hearing protection you should use, talk to a hearing healthcare provider.
Decibels for the Hearing Loss World
Anyone who has hearing loss should be aware of the decibel levels in their surroundings. Make sure that you reduce further hearing loss by protecting the hearing abilities that you still have.
Untreated hearing loss - If you have mild hearing loss, preserve your residual hearing by wearing the proper hearing protection. Hearing loss that goes untreated can cause additional health problems like dementia, depression, and lower-income due to the inability to accurately accomplish tasks on the job. Take action in preserving your hearing. Get a hearing test and treatment before your hearing gets worse.
Hearing aid wearers - Anyone who wears hearing aids should measure the decibel levels in their surroundings. Hearing aids can make sounds louder and clearer, whereas assistive listening devices make sounds louder.
The hearing that you still have left has a chance of deteriorating due to NIHL. You may be tempted to switch off your devices because you think that you’ll protect yourself from hearing harmful noises, but that will not work. If the hearing aids are not securely fit to the ear canal, they will not filter out dangerous noise levels. If you switched-off your devices, this can stop you from hearing sounds that want or need to hear. These sounds can include concerts or emergency vehicles. It’s important to work with a hearing instrument specialist to find out what the best hearing protection would be useful in your activities and lifestyle. The proper hearing protection lets you wear your hearing aids and still hear important alarms in your environment to be safe.
If you, or a loved one, are in need of a hearing test and consultation, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids.
Please be aware that Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require new hearing aid fittings, repairs, and re-fittings. We ask that you wait in your car while wearing your mask and place your hearing aids in a clean zip lock bag. We will come to you to get them. If you are having any issues with your devices or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.