It is difficult to measure the exact level of different instruments and musical genres. This is because the level depends on how loudly a single instrument is being played and the ensemble in which it is being played. The combination of instruments being plaid in conjunction with one another will affect the safe amount of time one can listen to any given instrument or group of instruments and as such no recommended safe listening times are given. The levels listed below specify how loudly an individual instrument can be played – keep in mind that they are not played at this level all the time, but the instruments played with them can also make them louder than the level listed here.

Too much loud sound can be dangerous, even from something we love.

It’s easy to recognize dangerous sound when we recognize it as noise, such as the roar of a plane when it flies overhead. It's much more difficult to consider sound safety when it’s something we enjoy, like loud music or the roar of a jet ski.

In the same way we take steps to protect our teeth by brushing them or use sunscreen to protect our skin outdoors, hearing protection should be a growing part of our daily health routine. The thermometer above shows that as the level of sound grows the safe amount of time spent listening to it decreases. In this way, sound can be measured as a daily dose – a maximum exposure per day. For example, if you spend one hour listening to an intense sound, like a rock band playing live music, you may want to take steps to make the rest of your day relatively quiet. In this way, you can still enjoy the sounds you love without compromising your ears’ ability to do their job. Your daily dose of sound has not been exceeded.

Three steps to maintain one’s daily dose:

1. Step away from loud sounds.

        Even a few extra feet between you and the source can help.

2. Limit the time spent around loud sounds.

        Alternating periods of quiet with periods of exposure can give your ears precious time to recover.

3. Use hearing protection devices such as earplugs or earmuffs to decrease the overall level of sound getting into your ears.

        Some are even specially designed to use when listening to music!

Finally, use our handy rule of thumb to know when you’re potentially exposed: if you need to raise your voice to be heard by a person an arm’s reach away, chances are the sound is too loud!