We live in a noisy world, constantly surrounded by sounds: traffic noise, the sound of construction work being carried out on building sites, dogs barking, loud music, cell phones ringing – noise takes on many different forms. Since the way sounds are perceived depends on the specific preferences, mindsets and moods of each individual hearer, there is no fixed value for determining what we experience as noise. Yet as soon as a sound reaches a volume that irritates people or even causes damage to their health, we refer to it as noise.
Experience how loud is too loud:
What is music in the ears of one person is just noise to other people. The way in which we perceive noises and tones is a subjective experience. However, when can one speak of noise and at what volume does it become critical for our hearing? You will find out everything you need to know about the much-discussed topic of noise and noise induced hearing loss here.
In order to be able to compare volume in different situations, noise levels are expressed in decibels (dB). Note that an increase of 10 dB is perceived as a doubling of the volume level. The sound level in a room can be roughly estimated by how well we can understand people speaking.
For speakers 3 feet apart, the following rule of thumb applies:
It is not only our hearing that suffers from noise. Even low noise levels can trigger the release of stress hormones, leading to increased blood pressure. This in turn can lead to aggressive behavior and tensions in interactions with other people, as well as an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and tinnitus. Unwanted sources of noise also prevent relaxation, recovery and sleep and impair concentration and performance, particularly in children.
Hearing loss cannot be reversed – once the sensitive hair cells have been damaged, they can no longer transmit any impulses to the auditory nerve and to the brain. Insomnia and high blood pressure can have serious consequences for a person’s health and psychological well-being. To avoid noise induced hearing loss, Phonak audiology expert Daniela-Simone Feit has put together a few key tips: