Music, Noise, and Hearing

We all know that loud noise can cause hearing issues.  We all try to stay away from unpleasant, loud noise; however, unpleasant loud noise is not the only kind that can affect your hearing.  Loud pleasant sound, like music, can cause hearing loss as well.  More often than not, we are exposed to music that is too loud.

What happens when we hear loud music?

  • -Loud music can cause hearing loss by damaging the hair cells in the inner ear- this damage is irreversible.
  • -Risk of damage depends on the loudness of the music and the duration of the exposure.
  • -Music, like a drum-line rehearsal, could be as loud as 110 dB (this is louder than a lawnmower or motorcycle!) You are risking permanent hearing damage by exposing yourself to that sound level in five minutes!
  • -While listening to music with earphone/earbuds, you often expose yourself to loud music without knowing it; you are turning the music louder to drown out the sounds in your surrounding environment.

What we can do to protect our hearing:

  • -Avoid loud music events, or wear earplugs!
  • -Custom earplugs for musicians attenuate volume without affecting fidelity of the music.
  • -Turn down your personal listening devices. If people near you can hear the music from your earphones, it is too loud!
  • -If you experience ringing in the ear after listening to music, it has caused some damage to your hearing.
  • -Get a hearing test if you experiencing ringing, fullness, or difficulty hearing.

Protect your hearing and enjoy the music!

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Dr. Ning Jing, Au.D. FAAA

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