Gadget Tells You If Things Are Loud. Funny, We Thought That's What Our Ears Are For

from the just-saying dept

There have been plenty of stories over the past few years about how things like iPods may contribute to the rise of hearing problems including potential deafness. While that may be music to the ears of one hearing aid company, it appears others are looking to jump on the “making money off of ipod-induced deafness” as well. The latest is a company that will sell you a $50 device to (no, I am not making this up) tell you if it’s loud. Well, technically, it will tell you if the noise in your environment can potentially cause damage, but, again it seems like your ears and your brain should be pretty good at that. It will also work on your iPod, but it will require you to place the earbud against the device’s “sound port” and it will tell you how loud it is. This sounds like quite a kludge. If it’s really to be even remotely effective, you’d need something that constantly monitors the volume of your iPod and proactively alerts you if it’s too loud. In the meantime, though, if you really don’t trust your own ears, feel free to splurge on this device.

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Comments on “Gadget Tells You If Things Are Loud. Funny, We Thought That's What Our Ears Are For”

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The Swiss Cheese Monster says:

As a sound engineer there is one thing I have learned:

People don’t know when things are too loud. Just because it doesn’t hurt doesn’t mean that you can’t do damage. And just because it hurts, doesn’t mean damage is being done.

There are tons of variables in whether or not something is doing damage to your hearing. I can’t see how a device like this would be all that effective for the long term noise that exists in any environment – but I suppose it would help with situational stuff.

I wonder if there is a market with headphones that have built in limiters?

horafuki says:

As a musician I have to agree with The Swiss Cheese Monster on this one. Percieved loudness is a function of any number of factors such as individual sensitivity, degree of built up resistance to volume, level of toleration (ok same thing), specific nature of the sound source (dynamic range etc.), level of rebellious anger….:P ….etc. etc. vs. the actual volume.

Bumbling old fool (profile) says:

Ever work in a hazardous noise environment?

If you have (like the engine room of a nuclear powered bubmarine) then you would know that:

No. Your ears cannot tell you when something is too loud.

Why? ’cause our ears are too damn smart for our own good. Literally. The signals they send to the brain are normalized. Unless the transition from quiet to loud is more rapid than the volume normalization process you do not notice how loud something is. It is very easy for you become adjusted to something that is causing damage.

Tyshaun says:

Before you get all sarcastic Mark...

These types of devices are nothing new. I worked as an event coordinator at a local concert hall during college and one of the things we regularly did was use a meter similar to this to “sample” bands as they played and adjust the volument of the sound system accordingly. The basic idea, as stated above, is that your ears tend to attenuate the signal to your brain (or your brain normalizes it, I’m not a hearing expert) and the result is that people unwittingly cause significant long term damage like tinnitus without realizing it.

wolff000 says:

Our Ears Are No good

As stated numerous times our our brain or ears (don’t know which) adjust the volume for us. I used to be a roadie and I don’t know how many times I stepped out of a room thinking the volume level was fine but when i went back in and the volume level had not changed it hurt my ears right away. I had simply got used to it but once I removed myself something reset and i could tell how loud it was. This device as stated has been around for a long time and numerous venues i have worked at use them so they don’t blow the eardrums of of thier patrons. Nothing new here unless the are working on building it into something very very small that you could plug into your mp3 player and plug earbuds into it. Maybe a small ding to let you know that Metallica is blasting too loud or whatever you listen to.

slimcat (profile) says:

I wish I had a second chance.

I have an approximate hearing loss of 95% in one ear and 65% in the other and I have pretty extreme tinnitus in both ears; yes, I can ‘hear’ that in the bad ear as well. My hearing loss is not only due to sound injury but also ear infection and sports injuries, mainly surfing and diving where water pressure and temperature (swimmer’s ear) did the damage.

If I had it to do over again, I would do everything I could to protect my hearing. In the long run, it’s a lot less expensive than surgery, which may or may not work, or needing hearing aids which are a pain in the arse and don’t work well if there is loud background noise or even a good wind blowing.

Take care of your damn hearing, you’ll be glad you did.

deafer-than-I-used-to-be (profile) says:


As a person who has suffered hearing loss from environmental noise, no it is NOT obvious! Perhaps you might do some research before making statements like this. Audiologists (hearing testers) have been saying that with the growing use of portable music players with headphones, people are putting their hearing more and more at risk. It has been stated previously but there are many factors in damage to your hearing, it isn’t just the volume of the noise but also there is a time factor involved. Please check some facts in the future before making posts like this and perhaps you might get your own hearing checked too.

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