Why is there uncomfortable silence?

How to protect your hearing

Many noises are part of our everyday life: cars and buses, construction site noise, other people's conversations or our own music. However, permanent exposure can damage our ears quite a bit. Sudden hearing loss, tinnitus, or hearing loss are some of the possible consequences. Why it is so important not to overload your hearing.

How is volume measured?

To specify the volume, the sound pressure level is measured. The corresponding unit of measurement is called the decibel - usually abbreviated to dB.

The human ear perceives tones of different frequencies at different levels. On the one hand, a stronger distinction is made in the lower dB range than in the upper range. In other words: a very soft sound stands out more for our hearing from a soft sound than a very loud sound from a loud one.

On the other hand, the number of dB and the perceived volume do not increase linearly. 100dB for example, are not perceived as twice as loud as 50dB. In general, an increase of 10dB leads to a doubling of the perceived volume. 60dB are perceived as twice as loud as 50dB. Of course, this always depends on the individual hearing and the corresponding sensitivity to noise.

These peculiarities of the human hearing are included in the measurement of the sound signals. This filtered assessment of the sound level is called A-weighting, or dB (A) for short.

What volume is harmful?

We actually always hear noises and tones. There is hardly a moment when it is completely silent. In the city there is street noise and conversations from others, in nature there is rustling of leaves and the rustling of winds. How loud we perceive them depends both on our own hearing ability and on external factors such as good room acoustics or the quality of the noise.

But when does our health and especially our hearing start to be damaged?

Learning and concentration disorders are possible from 40 dB. Concentrated work is impossible from 50dB. Continuous noise exposure above 65dB increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and above 85dB, 40 hours of exposure per week are enough for irreparable hearing damage. It is not without reason that people say: noise makes you sick!

Unimpaired people perceive everything from about 85dB as uncomfortable, with 120dB the pain threshold is reached.

So that you can imagine which known noises produce how many dB, here is a brief overview for you:

  • 0 dB (A): Corresponds to the hearing threshold of a person with normal hearing.
  • 0 to 20 dB (A): Hardly audible noises such as breathing, rustling leaves or rustling wind.
  • 20 to 40 dB (A): Perceptible but quiet noises, such as the ticking of a clock or a whisper. In the case of high sensitivity to noise, these already ensure that the person feels disturbed and, for example, has difficulty falling asleep.
  • 40 to 60 db (A): Clearly perceptible, rather loud noises. These include, for example, the hum of a refrigerator, quiet radio music or a conversation. Most people feel bothered by this when they want to concentrate on their work.
  • 60 to 80 dB (A): Usually a collection of several noises - group discussions, sitting in a crowded cafĂ© or restaurant, everyday traffic.
  • 80 to 100 dB (A): For full-time work that exceeds the average noise level of 85dB (A), hearing protection is mandatory. This means that employers are obliged to offer their employees appropriate hearing protection. Lawn mowers, chainsaws and a passing train or truck also fall into this volume category.
  • 100 to 110 db (A): Unhealthy noise from a circular saw or a jackhammer, but also the music in a discotheque or high volume when listening to music through headphones.
  • 120dB (A) and more: This is the pain limit. Rock concerts, violent explosions, such as New Year's Eve (170dB) or a jet plane at take-off can cause hearing damage after a short time.

How can the ears be protected?

In order for your ears to function properly even in old age, you should start at an early age to protect your ears extensively and give them enough rest. We have the following tips for you:

1. Treat yourself to a break!


Our ears can often recover from excessive strain if they are given enough time to rest. It is therefore recommended that after concerts or evenings in discos there is a break from noise of at least 8 to 10 hours. During this time you should not listen to the radio, expose yourself to street noise or make phone calls.

2. Use proper headphones


In order not to have to forego everyday music enjoyment for the sake of your ears, it is best to use noise-canceling headphones. Because they effectively dampen the noises around you, you can hear your music even at a lower volume and protect your eardrum.

3. Limit the duration of exposure


In addition to the volume, the exposure time also plays a major role here. An example: 85dB for 8 hours corresponds roughly to 88dB for 4 hours. This means: If the duration is reduced, your ears will be less damaged. Even higher volumes can be withstood for a short time.

4. Don't forget hearing protection


In addition to hearing protection in noisy jobs, you shouldn't do without protecting your ears at home, for example when mowing the lawn or doing DIY. The effects of regular noise on hearing should not be underestimated!

Conclusion: not too loud and not too long

When it comes to protecting your hearing, the following applies: not too loud and not too long. Because both the volume and the duration of the load are decisive here. It is better to turn the control on the radio or mobile phone one level down and enjoy quiet times.

I have been working for Visana for a number of years and have already been able to work in various areas. Since 2012 I have been able to let off steam in the field of online marketing. Terms such as programmatic buying, social media or lead generation are part of my everyday work. The area is developing rapidly and has exciting innovations ready every day. The continuous change with new possibilities and above all the measurability of the implemented measures make my job particularly exciting. In addition to my job, I am the mother of 2 little rascals. The topics of having fun with exercise, a balanced diet and of course health play an important role here.