Power of Sound
Every day, we encounter sound in the environment, ranging from the soft chirping of birds to noisy traffic or construction equipment.
It is important to realize how much power sound has; exposure to excess noise can result in permanent hearing loss that seriously impacts your quality of life.
Understanding the power of sound will make you aware of its dangers, and how to protect yourself from hearing damage in noisy situations.
How Sound is Measured
Sound is measured in decibels (dB). For every six decibels, the intensity of the sound doubles. The threshold for safe noise exposure is considered 85 decibels; anything over this can result in noise-induced hearing loss.
To give you an idea of how many decibels certain common sounds generate, consult the following chart:
- 30 dB: whisper
- 50 dB: steady rain
- 60-65 dB: normal conversation
- 70 dB: traffic
- 85 dB: prolonged exposure to noises above 85 decibels can permanently damage hearing
- 90 dB: train whistle
- 95 dB: jackhammer
- 100 dB: motorcycle or snowmobile
- 110 dB: power saws and other power tools
- 115 dB: rock music in concert
- 140 dB: jet engine from 100’ away
- 150 dB: fireworks
- 170 dB: shotgun blast
- 180 dB: death of hearing tissue
- 194 dB: loudest sound possible
The Dangers of Noise Exposure
Noise exposure is the most common cause of hearing loss in Manchester & the U.S. It is affecting an increasingly younger segment of the population, and represents a serious long-term health hazard. Because hearing loss occurs gradually and is painless, many people are unaware of damaged hearing until their impairment has reached an advanced stage. The louder the sound, the quicker hearing loss occurs.
Taking certain precautions can help prevent noise-induced hearing loss in Manchester. Wear hearing protection when you’ll be exposed to noise levels exceeding 85 decibels for extended periods of time. Keep the volume turned down when watching television or listening to music, and limit your listening time.