The truth is that loud music does not ‘toughen up’ your hearing, it destroys your hearing. Noise protection is extremely important to hearing health. Chronic exposure to loud noise permanently destroys your hearing and can create bothersome tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
In a statement released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday, February 27, 2015, 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are exposed to loud music in excess of acceptable levels which puts them at risk of permanent hearing damage by listening to “too much, too loudly”. WHO figures show 43 million people aged 12-35 already have hearing loss and the incidence is increasing.
This Spring, I have been invited to attend the Coachella Music Festival in Southern California by a local television station. They want me to measure the sound levels at the venues and provide information about noise exposure and hearing loss. Hopefully we can start a national conversation about the upcoming epidemic of hearing loss which results from loud music exposure and how to prevent it. Coachella will be offering earplugs in their welcome packages this year.
The WHO’s safe listening times are:
- 85 dB – the level of noise inside a car – eight hours
- 90 dB – lawn mower – two hours 30 minutes
- 95 dB – an average motorcycle – 47 minutes
- 100 dB – car horn or underground train – 15 minutes
- 105 dB – iPhone at maximum volume – four minutes
- 115 dB – loud rock concert – 28 seconds
- 120 dB – vuvuzela or sirens – nine seconds
For more information on hearing loss pevention, get a copy of my new book: Hearing Loss Facts and Fiction- 7 Secrets to Better Hearing, available at:
Thanks for reading and Happy Hearing!
The Hear Doc
Timothy Frantz, M.D