Compared to giant PA stacks at festivals and floor standing HiFi Speakers, headphones and earphones look small and harmless. But what matters is how much the sound makes your eardrums vibrate. In fact, most earphones can produce a louder sound at the eardrum than all but the largest and most powerful studio monitoring loudspeakers, and can easily give noise exposures well above the accepted safety limits.Earphones don’t sound as loud as loudspeakers even when the sound level at the eardrum is the same. This may happen because the brain isn’t fooled into thinking the sound is “outside” - it can work out that that the music is right next to your head and so expects it to sound loud and compensates. Unlike loudspeakers neighbours will not complain if kids are listening at high volumes, with earphones people can get an excessive dose of sound without themselves or anyone else realising it! You can’t assume that equipment made for the domestic market will be safe to do a lot of listening. A 2010 study found that an iPod Nano set on maximum volume, using the standard ear-buds, produced a one-hour average sound level of 96 dB with a popular album, a higher average than is allowed in the workplace.
Children and safe use of Headphones - dB Logic Headphones
- by Robin
- 28 October, 2011
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