Four years ago I became concerned about my hearing. I would be making dinner and Rom or Link would be trying to carry on a conversation with me from the adjoining room. I couldn’t hear them well enough to reply and they would get annoyed. I told them I would’t answer them unless they came to see me. That didn’t go over too well. They felt like they had to book an audience with The Queen! Meanwhile, I always went to the rooms they were in to speak to them, instead of yelling throughout the house.
I’ve never had any hearing problems in the office (maybe just listening problems, LOL!) but I have been going to rock concerts since I was 15. So I thought, “OK, I’ve finally done it. I have hearing loss.” I booked an appointment with an audiologist.
Imagine my delight when the audiologist told me my hearing was perfectly normal! “Your family has unrealistic expectations,” she said. YES!
This week Rom downloaded a decibel meter app on his cell phone and of course, I had to have one too. I was amazed at the noise level of everyday activities at home:
- Empty room, 37 dB
- Empty kitchen with fridge on, 45 dB
- Watching TV alone, 45 dB
- Outside on my doorstep in the evening, 45 dB (quiet neighbourhood!)
- Dishwasher on, 60-65 dB
- Microwave on, 60-65 dB
- Kettle boiling, 65-70 dB
- Washing machine on, 65 dB
- Bathroom fan on, 65 dB
- Toilet flushing, 75 dB
- Inside car while driving, 75 dB
- Running water from the tap, 75-80 dB
- Shower on, 80 dB
- Vacuum cleaner on, 80 dB
- Stove timer, 80 dB
- Microwave beep, 85 dB
No wonder I can’t hear anyone speak to me from another room! Keep in mind that the decibel scale is not like a percentage scale: a difference of 10 dB is TWICE as loud, so for example, the vacuum cleaner (80 dB) is FOUR TIMES as loud as the dishwasher (60 dB) – not 20% louder! (Source)
We attended a music festival 4 nights this week and sampled with our decibel apps (geek fun!) My average reading was 92. Eight hours of 90 dB noise will start to cause hearing loss, which is cumulative and irreversible. I have been wearing earplugs to rock shows for about 5 years now. I just buy the drugstore ones which are similar to memory foam. The package says they can reduce noise by 30 dB. With the earplugs, I can attend a 4-hour concert with no pain, ringing in the ears or muffled hearing afterwards. Most of the serious music fans of all ages now wear them so it’s not embarrassing – just about everyone uses the orange ones!
I hope those of you with “devices” will download an app and do some noise metering of your everyday activities (or assign this to your kids). It’s a real wake-up call!
I will leave you with this link about protecting your hearing. Meanwhile I have been resting my ears for the recommended 16 hours after loud noise exposure!