How Loud is Too Loud??

How Loud is Too Loud??

Since May is better speech and hearing month I thought it would be a good idea to look at just how loud some sounds are and how they can affect your child’s hearing. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) launched a campaign called “Listen to your buds. “ The campaign is designed to educate children and parents about safe listening habits.

As electronic devices become more popular among children of all ages, so does noise induced hearing loss. In 2014 ASHA estimated that 75% of kids ages 8 and under have access to a smart mobile device at home as compared to 52% in 2011. They have also estimated that 1 in 6 adolescents suffer from high frequency hearing loss which is typically noise related and very preventable. AHSA outlines 3 simple to steps to help make listening safe. First, keep the volume down to 50% of the max level. Second, limit listening time by giving you or your child quiet breaks. Lastly, talk to your kids about safe listening habits.

So how loud is too loud? According to OSHA, you can safely listen to noise or music at 85 decibels for 8 hours at a time. But once you’ve gone above 85 decibels then the length of time you can be exposed to noise without harming your hearing decreases rapidly. The rule of thumb is that for every 5 decibels the noise level increases above 85 the safe listening time decreases by half. In 2010 NBC news conducted an interview with an audiologist. They stated that parents can monitor their child’s music with a couple of easy tips. If you are having difficulty hearing someone who is talking from about an arm’s length away then chances are your volume is too high and above 85 decibels.  Also if you find yourself raising your voice to have a conversation, the level is probably higher than 85 decibels.

For more information on the Listen to Your Buds program click here Here is the link to the 2010 article from NBC news


-Matthew D’Antonio, PT, DPT

Pediatric Physical Therapist

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