DOES HIGHER RMS MEAN LOUDER SOUND?
The sound’s volume is a function of the square of the RMS amplitude. So if you double the power of a device, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will hear everything twice as loud. In some instances, you may only get an increase in output by 6dB which would be below the normal threshold of hearing sensitivity and unable to diagnose hearing loss.
In order for your waves to travel into someone else’s ear canal, they have to be below 20 decibels or close to 27 decibels. Damage can occur at levels as low as 40-60 decibels so it is wise not to exceed these values over time without giving your body a break from exposure due to long-term damage risks.
If you are listening to personal audio devices such as iPods or MP3 players, the output of sound is usually around 110-120 decibels. This means that if a person was wearing headphones and stood next to someone else who wasn’t wearing any while they listened to music at these volumes, the person with headphones would actually hear louder music than the person next to them.
People who do not have modified equalizers should be able to hear the sound around 12-14 kHz. You can test this out yourself with a pre-recorded sound file such as “sounds of cicadas " or listen to your own voice for higher frequencies that you cannot actually notice due to sensory adaptation.
Etymotic Research conducted studies on the average hearing loss of young people and it was determined that most teenagers had lost some or all ability to hear between 10-15 kHz.
WHAT IS THE GREATEST RISK IN DOING AN EXPERIMENT LIKE THIS?
-For one, you would be damaging your ears without knowing it. Two, there are a lot of people who walk around the general public not wearing hearing protection so you could be damaging their hearing as well.
-How loud is too loud? -Sound from personal audio devices like iPods or MP3 players can reach 110-120 decibels. This means that if a person was wearing headphones and stood next to someone else who wasn’t wearing any while they listened to music at these volumes, the person with headphones would actually hear louder music than the person next to them.
– The average hearing loss of young people is determined to be between 10-15 kHz. This means that you could miss out on a lot of important information if you cannot hear higher frequencies such as birds chirping, your own voice and the voices of others. If you are listening to personal audio devices at 110-120 decibels, this means that you could damage your ears without knowing it due to sensory adaptation. This also means that you could be damaging the hearing of those around you who do not have modified equalizers.
If someone close to you has a hearing loss or is suspected of having a hearing loss, we recommend that you have them tested by an audiologist. You can find one at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders website.