Hello Workwell

Pump up the Volume at Your Own Risk

BodyHello Workwell
Photo credit Bose

Photo credit Bose

Office spaces turned open galleries, while aesthetically pleasing to people who don’t work there, may be damaging your hearing. Why? Well, tuning into your music to tune out the noise, your co-workers, and trying to get it done is likely damaging your eardrums. "We are very concerned. Most people who are working or traveling are now wearing ear buds, But they don't necessarily know the sound levels they're exposing themselves to," Professor David McAlpine, director of research at the Australian Hearing Hub, said. You see, anything over 85 decibels, the equivalent of standing next to a lawn mower, will start to impact your hearing. The WHO (World Health Organization) estimates that over 1 billion people are in danger of hearing loss from listening to audio devices (that includes your phone) for more than 90 minutes a day.


Here’s what you can do to save yourself from having to accessorize an ear horn. Step one, set global volume settings on your phone. That way, you’re protecting against Spotify, Soundcloud, and anything else you love to crank the volume. Next, get some noise canceling headphones. These headphones will cancel the background noise, cutting out the need to use your playlist as the buffer. Finally, if your a frequent flyer, know this: doctors have found that sitting on an airplane is just as damaging as being at a concert. Typically, you’re exposed to music at 120 decibels at a concert and up to 88 in an airplane. However, most flights last longer than concerts do, and regularly being around sounds above 85 decibels for several hours at a time can cause noise-induced hearing loss. (Remember the 90 minute cut-off? New York to LA is five hour flight, no head wind.)

Doctors recommend that you use your headphones for no more than 90 minutes a day with the volume under 80 percent maximum capacity. If you’re not sure what that means, if someone else can hear sound coming out of headphones, its too loud.

And before you get on your classical versus metal high-horse, genre doesn’t matter. What's important is the volume and duration of your listening session. So, do yourself a favor and turn it down.