How To: Safe Listening Practices
Taking care of your hearing is paramount. After all - we are in this hobby to enjoy high fidelity audio for the rest of our lives! You only have a single set of ears - you have to protect it as damage tends to be permanent.
So, what’s a safe listening volume for us listeners?
Following the International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) recommendation, you can listen at 80dB for 40 hours a week without hearing damage.
Source: Make Listening Safe workgroup
The standard also states that ‘there is a clear consensus that 85dBA average exposure for eight hours/day leads to irreversible noise induced hearing loss.’ That said, gauging your listening levels to precise numbers in decibels can be difficult.
Here are five tips you can incorporate into your life to prolong hearing health and to make sure your listening levels are not too loud.
1. Less is more
As a general rule of thumb, you can try listening at a level that is slightly lower than what you are comfortable with. Start playing some music, get to a comfortable level, and then drop the volume a little. Over time, you will get used to the lower listening volume!
2. Have digital decibel products products?
Some true wireless earphones have built-in functions that accurately inform the volume level you are listening at. Apple wireless products, for example, have in-built decibel meters that inform listeners of the volume level.
With the app, you’ll be able to get a rather accurate gauge of your volume levels!
3. Start at volume 0
Always turn down the volume to a low level or to zero before you play any music. Also make sure you’re not using the line-out output if your device has one! This may damage the earphone, and more importantly, your hearing.
Personally speaking, we also like to turn on the music before we even insert IEMs into our ears, just to be safe.
4. Amplifier pop
As a general rule of thumb, always disconnect your IEM jack before turning the amplifier on/off. Some amplifiers without relay protection (usually from much older designs) may damage your IEMs and hearing.
5. Avoid wearing only one IEM
A phenomenon known as ‘binaural summation’, listeners will lose 6dB of perceived loudness when listening to one IEM (not both sides!). Most listeners will compensate by cranking up the volume, which is unsafe for hearing health! Always wear both IEMs when out and about.
These five easy tips will save your hearing in the long-run. Happy safe listening!
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