Our sense of hearing is one of man’s most precious senses. It is integral to navigating the world around us and communicating with people, especially our loved ones. But not everyone can hear.
Not everyone has 100% of their hearing and not everyone was born with all the required organs to be able to hear.
Hearing loss is very common, all across the world. This is why sign language was invented so that those suffering from hearing loss or some level of hearing impairment, can communicate with hearing people. In the United States and Canada, people use the American Sign Language, in Britain, they use the British Sign Language and in other countries, it is customized to the people, culture and other factors.
However, hearing people can sometimes, take their gifts for granted. We forget to protect our hearing.
Especially in major cities, and noisy work environments, we forget to use proper gears and strategies to limit our exposure to very loud noises. That is why it is important to review certain tools like the decibel loudness chart.
Protect Yourself from Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)
To maintain healthy hearing, it is integral for us to shield our ears from any prolonged sounds that would cause noise induced hearing loss.
Being exposed to constant loudness can cause long-term damage.
If you have ever examined a decibel chart, you will quickly learn that any noise that goes over 90 decibels should not be tolerated for greater than two to three hours.
This is why music bands do not have prolonged practicing hours.
For anyone who wishes to have a lifelong career in music, you must follow the relevant health and safety guidelines. Especially working with bands, these rules generally adhere to and reference information from a decibel scale.
What is Decibel?
This term, decibel, refers to how we measure the loudness of sound.
According to the Medical Dictionary, it is “a unit of relative power intensity equal to one tenth of a bel, used for electric or acoustic power measurements. One decibel equals approximately the smallest difference in acoustic power the human ear can detect and an increase of 10 decibels approximately doubles the loudness of a sound. The term is abbreviated dB or db.”
What is a Decibel Scale?
The decibel scale has great significance to people who work in noisy environments.
This includes musicians, people who work in close proximity to airplanes and gunfire or cannon fire. And even people who build and assemble rockets.
According to the Music Production Guide, “The decibel can be used to measure sound pressure level, sound intensity level, voltage level and power, just to name a few.”
The decibel scale “provides a valuable reference tool for the audio engineer, technical engineer, and the audio equipment designer. Without a reference system, working with audio would become entirely a matter of individual perception and guesswork. The ability to quantify and communicate level changes of any kind would be very limited.”
Decibel Loudness Chart
These charts will often vary in how they look. But the information presented on them, is typically the same.
Sounds that fall within the reasonable and safe decibel levels include a pin drop, which is around 10 decibels and the ticking of your watch, which is around 20 decibels. A whisper comes out at about 30 decibels and a serene babbling brook is usually about 40 decibels.
Light traffic or the hum from your fridge is at 50 decibels. Common, light conversation is issued at around 60 decibels. Anything above this is outside of the safe decibel level zone.
Decibel Loudness for Common Household Appliances
Did you know that some of our common household appliances are outside of this safe range? One sweet little cherub gets rather close to the all red zone.
On the decibel loudness chart:
- Dishwasher – 70 decibels
- Vacuum cleaner – 80 decibels
- Lawnmower – 90 decibels
- Blow dryer – 100 decibels
- Leaf blower – 110 decibels
- A screaming baby – 120 decibels
- Ambulance siren – 130 decibels
Some of the even greater elements that are absolutely devastating to the ears are within the 140 to 180 decibel range. This includes a jet engine, cap gun, fireworks, shot gun and a rocket launching.
Nothing above the range of 115 decibels should be endured for more than 30 seconds, especially without the proper nose reducing or noise cancelling gears on. Even a bulldozer can affect your hearing in just one day!
Safeguard your Ears from Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL)
The problem with continued exposure to high-level noises is that it causes gradual hearing loss. You do not just get up one day and lose your hearing, unless you placed yourself in an extreme environment or suffer some form of trauma.
Noise-induced hearing loss is caused from dangerous decibels. NIHL comes from being exposed to unsafe sound around 85 dB or higher.
Of the 40 million people with hearing loss, a quarter of them are suffering unnecessarily because of NIHL. That is 10-milion people who could have prevented this condition, by wearing the proper gear. So take heed and protect yourself.
Get a decibel loudness chart and take a responsible approach to protecting yourself from noise-induced hearing loss.