Jammin’ With the Dead? Were Your Ears Ringing In Your Head?

Jammin with the Dead - Ringing in Your Head?

Yes, being at the Grateful Dead concert at Soldier Field was even better than expected and a true “life experience.”  But it was loud…really loud.  So loud, in fact, that thousands of people left with their ears still ringing hours later and many will have permanent, unrecoverable and irreversible hearing damage.

So, how loud is too loud?

Sound is measured in decibels (dB).  Zero decibels (0dB) is almost silence and is the softest sound the human ear hears.  The greater the dB, the louder the sound.

But, it also depends on how long

As a rule of thumb, the louder the dB, the less time you can let your ears be exposed.


How Loud and How Long

30dB – a whisper:  No limit

60dB – normal conversation, background music:   No limit

80dB – alarm clock, garbage disposal:   8 hours

85dB – city traffic, snow blower:   4 hours

90dB – lawn mower, motorcycle:   2 hours

95dB –   subway train, food processor:   1 hour

100dB – jet takeoff, motorcycle:   ½ hour

105dB – sporting event:   15 minutes

110dB – blaring car horn, average rock band:   7.5 minutes

115dB – ambulance siren:   3.75 minutes

120dB – chainsaw, air raid siren:   1.87 minutes – LEVEL OF PHYSICAL PAIN


The Grateful Dead registered an average of 99dB on a sound level meter.   According to the above chart, you can be exposed to 99dB for ½ hour without permanent damage to your ears and hearing.  The Grateful Dead concert was 5 hours.

It only takes one loud, prolonged sound to change the way you’ll ever hear the music again.

-Dr. Ronna Fisher, Au.D., Founder and President


Social Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *