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Important info about decibels.

2007 Views 15 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  mhammer
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Is everyone aware how hearing damage occurs. It's not how loud it is, but rather how loud it is over a period of time.

A little bit of loudness over a long period can be more harmful than a very loud sound over an extremely short time.

Take the time to check over this chart. Or otherwise expect me to "turn a deaf ear" when you start whining later in life that you can't enjoy music anymore.
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Just to add to what @High/Deaf said: those numbers are RMS and white noise based (a gun blast is a transient peak and as such a rather different animal). The frequency of the noise in the real world can also play a part in how long an exposure can damage hearing; higher freqs kill your ears fastest. This is why piezo tweeters in music/dance clubs are the devil - they reproduce freqs up to 30-40K which you can't hear but hurt you and have a very wide dispersion pattern so you don't have to be standing on axis with the tweeter to get blasted - e.g. Lee's Palace (before some recent changes) the sound dude there (now retired) could no longer hear treble (not sure if he was aware of that or not), so what did he do? Cranked the high end.... into those piezos (now replaced). Ruined a few shows for me (not just); I had to get away from the front and find the spot in the room with the biggest null in the upper register (the back where the bodies in front have absorbed most of it) AND wear plugs. Moving into the 'pit' area litterally hurt (dunno how the people who stayed there standed it, but I assume alcohol had something to do with it, though it wasn't enough to take the edge off for me).

As @Budda said, shows are loud; easily over 100db - I bet you'll be in there longer than 15 minutes at a stretch; a band's set is at least 20 if not longer.

For all of us here, I highly recommend these as a minimum (20db reduction without custom molding): Etymotic Research | ETY•Plugs® Earplugs
... which I see @sambonee already did too

Unlike standard (disposable) foamies (guitarist in one of my bands uses them, so I assume some of us here also do) they attenuate all frequencies pretty much equally (vs kill all the treble aka intelligibility and barely any of the bass which can still hurt you, just more slowly and less painfully); you actually hear the show better because your ear can relax vs tense up due to the exposure (to expand on what @High/Deaf said earlier re: stapedius muscle and what @Budda said re: can still hear conversation with them in - I find I can hear convros better, again, going back to the relaxed ear thing). I've had mine for 5 years (lost the pair I had before that at a gig). Very comfortable (also unlike foamies for some people) and cheap (no custom mold). I also use their in ear headphones (which can double as earplugs if not playing music; accurate as fuck - I've mixed with them). Personally I find even a wad of TP or paper towel from the bathroom superior to foamies (which is what younger me used to do before coming upon Etymotic). Best US$12 + ship you've ever spent.
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