By Marc A. Gallo
Many of us go about life enjoying the symphony of sounds from birds singing in the trees to your favorite band rockin’ out at a local music venue. These as well as other sounds give us great pleasure. But extensive exposure to sounds that might not seem very loud may in fact result in long term damage to your hearing.
You work and live in the city. To get from your home to your job or to hook up with friends requires taking the subway. To get back home afterwards means you have to take the subway again. If you’re exposed to subway noise in excess of 15 minutes a day you will suffer permanent hearing loss over time.
Here’s another example…you just bought the new iPhone 6 from Apple. Killer phone…and you’re psyched to enjoy your music on iTunes. The new phone conveniently comes with earbuds. You pop ’em in and crank it up! It sounds loud but it’s not hurting you. Or is it? Believe it or not, the iPhone at its maximum volume exceeds 100 db. Listening to your music anywhere near 100 db for more than 30 minutes a day is causing permanent hearing damage.
I Have Tinnitus and It’s Only Getting Worse
I’m a musician, performer and loud-mouthed Irish-Italian…a dangerous mix. Having rehearsed and performed in bands and studios over all these years has caused some degree of hearing loss but worse yet, tinnitus. It’s the dreaded ringing of the ears.
When I go to bed at night, I hear ringing. When I wake up, I hear ringing. When I meditate, I hear ringing. I will never experience silence again. Don’t end up like me or many celebrities like Pete Townsend, Danny Elfman, Will.I.Am and many others. We neglected our ears and now we’re paying the price.
But There’s Hope!
Start protecting your ears today! Turn down the volume. It doesn’t need to be SO loud to be enjoyed. Wear ear plugs when you go to sporting events and concerts. These venues normally exceed 110 db when everyone screams after a touchdown or an encore!
Protect your ears even when you’re doing normal everyday tasks like mowing the lawn, vacuuming your carpet and blowing your leaves. Excessive sound pressure levels, albeit briefly, still have a deleterious affect on your hearing in the long term.
Believe me, you want to enjoy the sound of silence. I wish I could.
This post originally appeared on Mind The Gap's blog on March 27, 2015. The author, Marc A. Gallo. has recorded, performed and published music for Great Egg Music since 1990 and is currently President of Mind The Gap, a provider of on hold music and messaging services.