by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

As I’ve written before, I don’t like special days or months. I think that if something is important, it should be thought about all the time, not just on a special day or month. But I’ve also acknowledged that these special days and months remind us of someone or something important, be it our mothers, the environment, or in this case, Better Hearing and Speech Month, sponsored by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

This information page from ASHA has lots of informative links if you want more information.

I particularly like this Safe Listening infographic, which states that “[s]ounds at 70 decibels (dBA) or lower are generally safe to listen to for an extended period of time.”

Seventy decibels is the only evidence-based safe noise level to prevent noise induced hearing loss. I wrote about that in the American Journal of Public Health five years ago. If you don’t believe me, see what the experts at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have to say.

One thing for sure: the oft-cited 85 dB level is derived from occupational noise exposure recommendations and does not prevent hearing loss in workers. It’s far too loud for the general public.

During Better Hearing and Speech Month, remember that if it sounds loud, it’s too loud and your auditory health is at risk.

Turn down the volume, use hearing protection, or leave the noisy environment to protect your hearing.