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Hearing loss while out.


LanghamP
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About twenty five years ago I noticed some very slight hearing loss, or rather ringing in my ears, and since then almost always carry earplugs with me, or be ready to stick my fingers in my ears. Occasionally I'll not bother to put in earplugs, and simply ride my EUC. Is this a bad idea?

Well, some years ago I downloaded a few decibel applications for my phone which measures how loud your environment is. It turns out 120 decibels is pretty common while passing over highways, or roads that are parallel to highways.

In other words, the maximum decibel my phone can record--120--is commonly reached while commuting.

There are several 45mph four lane roads on my commute. If I turn the volume of my KS16 speakers to their maximum, then I still cannot hear at all the music supposedly coming out from it (this without earplugs). Turning off that street onto a residential road immediately makes my KS embarrassingly loud.

There doesn't seem to be any good solutions. Now Here One/Two does make active noise cancelling earbuds, along with other companies but as they are expensive I haven't tried them. One could use foam earplugs, which indeed is what I use to great effect, but that might make you less aware of your surroundings. Personally, earplugs have helped me because I have had dogs and people bark or yell at me in the hopes of getting me off my EUC, and the sound is still there, just less of it.

A ten mph pace is about 85 decibels, enough to cause hearing loss after about 8 hours. That's just from the wind never mind the diesel trucks.

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Just now, ir_fuel said:

120dB, no way that is accurate.

You can replicate such results by  downloading a decibel meter unto your smartphone, then spot-checking various areas.

I'd be interested in seeing what other people get.

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18 hours ago, LanghamP said:

... Occasionally I'll not bother to put in earplugs, and simply ride my EUC. Is this a bad idea?

Imho there are earplugs that leave some frequencies with less dampening, so one gets not absolutely "deaf" and can hear cars approaching, etc...

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Well, some years ago I downloaded a few decibel applications for my phone which measures how loud your environment is. It turns out 120 decibels is pretty common while passing over highways, or roads that are parallel to highways.

In other words, the maximum decibel my phone can record--120--is commonly reached while commuting.

120 db are the pain threshold. So if it hurts or its getting extremely discomfortable you know you reached about this 120db.

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There are several 45mph four lane roads on my commute. 

Strong traffic should be around 80 db according to tables.

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A ten mph pace is about 85 decibels, enough to cause hearing loss after about 8

Imho 85db is too much just for driving 10 mph

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hours. That's just from the wind never mind the diesel trucks.

thats maybe the solution. Its could be the noise created by the wind at the opening for the phone microphone?

As having a telefone call with someone in a windy enviroment - one hears mostly only this wind induced noise and not the voice.

So for measurements one should try that the microphone is not held directly into the airflow.

You could also check the values shown from your app against some described sceneries in noise level tables.

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As Chriull noted, the high dB is probably the wind noise on the microphone. Another could be that the app hasn’t been calibrated to the specific phone model you have. Measuring loudness with even a remote accuracy is not as simple as downloading an app on your telephone.

But I don’t think any of that matters here. If you feel that a situation is loud, or even if regular sounds just feel annoying at certain times, use earplugs. Many musicians’ earplugs are designed to keep a natural frequency balance, which makes it a lot easier to have a conversation while wearing the plugs. I am overly sensitive to sudden sounds, especially when getting tired or fatigued, so I always carry a pair. I always wear them when going to a grocery store, or my parents’ (my dad has a thing with dishes).

59eafd894241d_screenshot2017-10-2110_54_12.thumb.png.515f1074cf5d72ea03fdaf423b783796.png

Above are attenuation curves for a few earplugs. High amount of attenuation at the 1000-3000Hz range makes for good protection, but discussions difficult. For example with Alpine WorkSafe, eating and trying to listen what others talk about was impossible. Pluggerz Premium (35€) is so far the best universal fit earplug I have tried. They sound very much like my 200€ custom fit musicians’ earplugs. Meaning, they change the sound balance extremely little compared to no earplugs at all, so I had no problem wearing them in various situations.

It is worth mentioning that the official lab test data above may be very different in practice from person to person. Some earplugs just don’t fit well without you ever even knowing. They just mess up the sound. ER-20 is one of those for me, they are too long which closes the center channel making them sound too muffled. Cutting off the smallest of three flanges solves that issue for me.

My interest towards the subject is quite strong as an ex musician, ex sound engineer, and having hypersensitivity.

Edited by mrelwood
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I would agree that while wind at 20mph is loud, it's probably not over the 85dB level.

The only time I have been concerned is with a head wind making it hard to hear traffic.

I have noticed how wind affects music levels from the EUC.An interesting test would be to measure the dB of the music indoors...i would guess it would be around 85dB (At head height). That is probably where the wind dB level is drowning out the music.

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2 hours ago, LanghamP said:

Even 15mph is pretty loud, enough to cause permanent hearing loss.

https://www.noisyplanet.nidcd.nih.gov

Evidently I'm not the only one thinking wind noise is extremely loud.

Unfortionately i did not find the complete study. They stated that they measured the noise at different angles (0-180 degrees) and in the link to ford is written that the highest noises were measured at the downwind ear.

I can't remember getting uncomfortably loud wind noise going up to 30 km/h.

Even talking was still possible without getting hoarse afterwards.

But imho turning the head to one side drasticly increases the wind noise and also driving in windy enviroment.

But once it is windy i not only reduce the speed because it gets uncomfortably loud but also driving fast with higher air drag/sidewards winds is not real fun for me.

Full face helmets should be a good protection against such wind noises with the added security for faceplants.

Imho also the right earplugs should handle this noises very well.

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When I started using the Giro Switchblade, I noted that the overall volume of everything around me was turned down quite a lot.

In the beginning it annoyed me slightly, since my hearing is part of my situational awareness, and I was afraid this attenuation would make me less safe. But as I got used to it, my situational awareness "recovered". One thing I would wish for, is a design that cuts the wind noise even more. While the full face helmet cuts it some, the strongest noise when going fast is still the wind. I've learned to tune it out some, so it's okay. But it should be possible to design a helmet in a way that minimises wind noise, and that would be really helpful in keeping the situational awareness high.

There are a lot of Tesla cars around here, and other electric cars for that matter, and you really really don't want to miss that you have them around. Sight is one thing, and I have a rear view mirror to heighten the instant awareness, but sound is also important. I wouldn't even think of riding with plugs in, unless they're the musician type or equivalent, and only dampen the volume without actually making resolution or balance go to hell. Even with such, it would be an acclimatisation process, where I would probably be pretty nervous starting off. Just as when going full face in the helmet department, the lowering of volume would be a bit problematic in the beginning.

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On 19/10/2017 at 3:24 PM, LanghamP said:

You can replicate such results by  downloading a decibel meter unto your smartphone, then spot-checking various areas.

I'd be interested in seeing what other people get.

a smartphone is not an accurate dB meter. 120dB for more than a minute and you'll be in severe pain. Don't forget the scale is logarithmic. 120dB is not 30% louder than 90dB.

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7 hours ago, LanghamP said:

Even 15mph is pretty loud, enough to cause permanent hearing loss.

https://www.noisyplanet.nidcd.nih.gov

Evidently I'm not the only one thinking wind noise is extremely loud.

If you think that, then everyone riding a bicycle is suffering from permanent hearing damage. No way.

The only place where that occurs is once you go faster than let's say 60-70 km/h on a motorcycle. That's when it gets problematic. 

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On 10/19/2017 at 7:24 AM, LanghamP said:

You can replicate such results by  downloading a decibel meter unto your smartphone, then spot-checking various areas.

I'd be interested in seeing what other people get.

Any chance that is wind noise into your mic? I highly suggest you get a dead cat (wind screen) for your mic and try again. 

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9 hours ago, GoinPostal said:

Any chance that is wind noise into your mic? I highly suggest you get a dead cat (wind screen) for your mic and try again. 

Wind noise is still noise, and blocking the ear with anything does reduce the noise significantly. Just wearing my Bell full-face reduces noise compared to open-face helmets. However, I think EUC's don't have to worry much about noise for the simple reason that they can't go very fast compared to a bicycle; that is, while the EUC's average speed is higher than almost any bicyclist their top speed is much slower.

Over the past weeks, where I'm much more mindful of noise, I've revised my opinion on noise.

--Wind noise just isn't much of a factor for us EUC's since our top speed is so low.

--However, larger vehicles going more than 45 mph are extremely loud, enough to spike the meter at 120 decibels. You might want to put a single earplug in the ear facing traffic if you're going for more than a few minutes.

--Being near or going over/under highways is even louder; there's a lot of energy there.

--Emergency vehicles are the loudest of all.

Interestingly, I have been asking people if they hear ringing in their ears when in a quiet room. 100% (including me) say yes to various degrees, but I was very surprised to see that about 20%-25% said the ringing was so bad they had trouble sleeping. Most people thought their hearing problems came from loud music but the people who had really really bad hearing, as in they kept saying "what what" in normal conversation, shot guns a lot.

If you do shoot guns then I recommend you always wear earplugs because there always seemed to be some incident where a gun went off right when a person was removing their ear muffs.

Notably, two people that I went shooting rifles with simply didn't wear any ear protection. Their hearing was pretty bad. Awful, actually.

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1 hour ago, LanghamP said:

--Emergency vehicles are the loudest of all.

That one can really cause damage. Luckily you're not supposed to be next one of those for several minutes. When I can I usually hold my ears closed when one of those has to pass next to me.

Same for trains that are braking.

 

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On 10/25/2017 at 8:52 AM, LanghamP said:

Wind noise is still noise, and blocking the ear with anything does reduce the noise significantly. Just wearing my Bell full-face reduces noise compared to open-face helmets. However, I think EUC's don't have to worry much about noise for the simple reason that they can't go very fast compared to a bicycle; that is, while the EUC's average speed is higher than almost any bicyclist their top speed is much slower.

Over the past weeks, where I'm much more mindful of noise, I've revised my opinion on noise.

--Wind noise just isn't much of a factor for us EUC's since our top speed is so low.

--However, larger vehicles going more than 45 mph are extremely loud, enough to spike the meter at 120 decibels. You might want to put a single earplug in the ear facing traffic if you're going for more than a few minutes.

--Being near or going over/under highways is even louder; there's a lot of energy there.

--Emergency vehicles are the loudest of all.

Interestingly, I have been asking people if they hear ringing in their ears when in a quiet room. 100% (including me) say yes to various degrees, but I was very surprised to see that about 20%-25% said the ringing was so bad they had trouble sleeping. Most people thought their hearing problems came from loud music but the people who had really really bad hearing, as in they kept saying "what what" in normal conversation, shot guns a lot.

If you do shoot guns then I recommend you always wear earplugs because there always seemed to be some incident where a gun went off right when a person was removing their ear muffs.

Notably, two people that I went shooting rifles with simply didn't wear any ear protection. Their hearing was pretty bad. Awful, actually.

Now you are making lots of sense. Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) is very common. (Mine comes and goes). 

I shot thousands of rounds of .44 Magnum in my teens and twenties. (True story). 

I say what a fair amount too. 

My wife also says I never listen to her.. and some other thing she was rattling on about. ?

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On 25/10/2017 at 5:52 PM, LanghamP said:

Wind noise is still noise, and blocking the ear with anything does reduce the noise significantly.

Wind noise at a mobile phone microphone has nothing to do with wind noise in a person's ear. But sure, almost any noise can be reduced significantly by putting anything in the ear.

On 25/10/2017 at 5:52 PM, LanghamP said:

However, I think EUC's don't have to worry much about noise for the simple reason that they can't go very fast

10m/s winds are common. It is 36km/h. Add a modern EUC and you are easily at 70km/h. But wind noise in a person's ear doesn't get anywhere near linearly louder as the wind increases. The way it creates noise in the outer ear and acts as a resonator in the ear canal is so much more complicated. If you get a loud wind noise in your ears, try turning your head a bit, makes a huge difference.

On 25/10/2017 at 5:52 PM, LanghamP said:

--However, larger vehicles going more than 45 mph are extremely loud, enough to spike the meter at 120 decibels.

Again, until you test your mobile phone microphone with a proper wind shield, the numbers you are quoting bear no meaning whatsoever. And even then it's just a $0.10 mobile phone mic and a free app. Even the crappiest so called "measurement mic" costs hundreds of times more. Heavy traffic = 70-80dB (*1).

On 25/10/2017 at 5:52 PM, LanghamP said:

people who had really really bad hearing, as in they kept saying "what what" in normal conversation, shot guns a lot.

Besides gun shots being stupidly loud (140-190dB) (*2), sharp sounds are the worst since the ear doesn't have time to react to the increasing noise level.

 

I don't want to undermine your findings about how there are surprisingly loud noises in our everyday life, and how hearing protection helps a lot. That's all true. But to include facts and especially decibel levels to these findings requires a bit more.

____

References:

*1: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/publications/publicroads/03jul/06.cfmhttps://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Noise/

*2: http://dangerousdecibels.org/education/information-center/noise-induced-hearing-loss/https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Noise/

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I heard about people for whom the ear ringing became a serious problem that could be treated, had them visited a doctor in time... I think it's good to be aware at least.

As for the noise - likely if you cannot hear a music near maximum in your headphones - well, then the environment is definitely loud and it is OK to wear some deafening headsets, as you won't hear some silent sounds over the environment anyway.

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Someone posted "wind noise reducing" wings, here, about 6 months back.  I tried headphones with music.  Wind noise was still there but at least I got some good tunes to listen to (I almost never ride on the road with headphones, side walks and bike trails only, so don't panic.  No flames please)  

nice thing about headphones, is you can use them to ignor people who think they have a right to an opinion simply because you're doing something that they don't do. Or people with, "how much?" Questions, or " give us a go" requests.

I may modify my headphones with aerodynamic flaps to reduce the wind noise.  Don't hold your breath for the report, it might take me a year to get a "round touit"  

 

 

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On 10/23/2017 at 6:06 AM, LanghamP said:

Even 15mph is pretty loud, enough to cause permanent hearing loss.

https://www.noisyplanet.nidcd.nih.gov

Evidently I'm not the only one thinking wind noise is extremely loud.

hmm, I am aware of various reasons for hearing loss, but I never heard of cycling or sailing or skiing or taking long walks at the autumn beach to be one of the reasons, all of which can well mean long-time exposure to >=15mph wind speeds.

I can't even find a link to any scientific abstract in the above link to begin with, so @Chriull seems to be more talented in this respect.

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6 minutes ago, Mono said:

hmm, I am aware of various reasons for hearing loss, but I never heard of cycling or sailing or skiing or taking long walks at the autumn beach to be one of the reasons, all of which can well mean long-time exposure to >=15mph wind speeds.

I can't even find a link to any scientific abstract in the above link to begin with, so @Chriull seems to be more talented in this respect.

There isn't any strong or perhaps even compelling reason to protect your hearing because other than some loss of hearing and some ringing there isn't much effect.

I mean to say, if protecting your hearing bothers you because it requires some earplug usage, then don't. No one ever gets suicidal or depressed from hearing loss; it's just not a big deal. 

I only wear earplugs because when I hear loud noises, music traffic and such, my ability to concentrate goes completely out the window.

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23 minutes ago, LanghamP said:

No one ever gets suicidal or depressed from hearing loss; it's just not a big deal.

I am pretty sure that some people do get depressed and become suicidal from hearing loss. Hearing loss is a very common disability and the loss of communication abilities can well lead to isolation and depression. 

Spending a few minutes on Scholar Google for wind as cause for hearing loss didn't reveal more than this study

https://www.cna.org/CNA_files/PDF/D0011228.A2.pdf

which found that being a sailor on an US Navy Surface Warship is significantly connected to hearing loss. The authors don't mention wind and I don't think it is a likely cause though (more likely it is noise from various machinery).

Edited by Mono
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1 hour ago, Mono said:

I am pretty sure that some people do get depressed and become suicidal from hearing loss. Hearing loss is a very common disability and the loss of communication abilities can well lead to isolation and depression.

No question!  Talk to someone who became deaf late in life.  They'll tell you:  "Blindness disconnects you from things, deafness disconnects you from people."  For most, being gradually disconnected from society and family is a far worse fate.  It is a very big deal.

It's easy to protect your hearing, whereas the price of not bothering is higher than you might think.

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8 hours ago, Smoother said:

nice thing about headphones, is you can use them to ignor people

 

You don't need headphones for that! At least here in Finland...

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