Safe Exposure to Noise / Music Formulas


We’re all likely aware of the need to protect ourselves from loud sound. But what about everyday sounds?  Do you enjoy going to events or concerts with loud noise or music, or do you regularly listen to earbuds/earphones? If you answered yes to these questions, then you should be aware of the levels of noise or music you are exposed to. 


How loud is too loud?


Download a sound level metre to your smart phone (many are free) and this will give you a rough estimation of the intensity of noise or music you are exposed too. 


Formula 1:

You are likely safe if you do not exceed 85 dB SPL (sound pressure level) for a period of 8 hours.  For every 3 dB SPL above 85 dB SPL, then your safe exposure time is reduced by ½.  So, at 88 dB SPL you may be safe for 4 hours, at 91 dB SPL you may be safe for 2 hours, and so on.


Formula 2:

You should be able to talk and hear your own voice above the intensity of the noise or music you are exposed to. This is true whether listening in soundfield, or under headphones.


Formula 3:

This is the 60/60 rule. You should not wear your listening device (ear buds/ earphones) at greater than 60% volume for more than 60 minutes (no louder than 85 dB SPL).  Although this does not take in to account the base intensity level that your listening device is set to.


Keep in mind these formulas do not take into account pre-disposition to damage caused by loud noise or music, and these rules / formulas are for estimation only.


As always, if you have concerns about your hearing or a question you would like answered, contact us using the button below.


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