These are the conclusions of the World Health Organization which recently analyzed data from various studies conducted in mid- to high-income countries. The conclusion: nearly 50% of 12- to 35-year-olds “are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from the use of personal audio devices, and around 40% are exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues.”
So how loud is too loud? Noise levels are measured in something called decibels, dB for short, and:
- Regular exposure of more than one minute at or above 110 decibels risks permanent hearing loss.
- No more than 15 minutes of unprotected exposure at or above 100 decibels is recommended.
- Prolonged exposure to any noise at or above 85 decibels can cause gradual hearing loss.
Use this National Institute of Health’s “It’s a Noisy Planet” guide to keep you in the know:
- 140-165 ~ Firecracker, shotgun firing
- 140 ~ Jet taking off
- 120 ~ Ambulance siren
- 110 ~ Rock concert, symphony orchestra
- 105 ~ Personal stereo at maximum level
- 100 ~ Woodshop, snowmobile
- 90 ~ Power mower
- 85 ~ Heavy traffic, school cafeteria
- 75 ~ Dishwasher
- 60 ~ Normal conversation
- 40 ~ Refrigerator
- 30 ~ Whisper