Crank up the volume!
Raise the volume!
Shake what your mama gave you!
Just like you don’t care!
Well you ought to care(not about your butt this time, but your ears)
Here’s why: any part of your hearing you lose, is never regained!
40 percent of young people ages 12 to 35 are regularly exposed to dangerous noise levels at concerts and sporting events. Nightclubs and bars pump music at intense volumes. And those crazy dancehall beats that get you through gym class? They may do wonders for your butt, but they’re wrecking your ears (research shows that some workout classes reach 94 decibels [dB], higher than the recommended noise-exposure limit of 85 dB).
Wherever you are, if noise is preventing you from hearing a friend standing a few feet away, it’s probably causing damage. We’re born with around 16,000 hair cells in each inner ear that help convert sound waves into electrical signals for the brain. These cells bend when exposed to sound, then straighten. But they’re like blades of grass: Step on them once and they bounce back; crush them constantly and you’ll kill the lawn. Trampled hair cells don’t regenerate.
One small bit of good news: noise-induced hearing loss is tied to both volume and duration. That means you’d have to listen to something at 85 decibels for eight straight hours to cause damage. At levels over 100 dB, your window shrinks to 15 minutes.
5 Ways to Protect Your Ears
1. Know Your Noise Levels
Download an app like SoundMeter or Noise Hunter to track the decibel level around you — at concerts, in restaurants, and in techno-cardio classes.
2. Pump Down the Volume
You can still live life to a soundtrack if you follow the 60:60 rule: Listen at no more than 60 percent.
3. Abandon the Buds
We get it — they’re super convenient. But if you’re cranking the volume, your ears are suffering. Need to drown out background noise? Noise-canceling headphones are best for blocking ambient sound. (Look for a noise reduction rating, or NRR, or at least 9.)
4. Plug Them Up
Your best festival accessory? Ear plugs. (Look closely; The band and crew are wearing them.) Follow instructions on the packet to insert them properly—otherwise, they’re useless.
How Loud is Too Loud?
30dB: A whisper 60dB: A normal conversation 80dB: City traffic 85db: Recommended noise-exposure limit 90dB: A leaf blower at close range 110dB: Your headphones at max volume 115dB: A rock concert 130dB: A jet engine at takeoff (from the runway, not the cabin)