by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
This article in The Hearing Journal describes a study published in Noise & Health about sound levels in group spin classes in Baltimore, Maryland.
The average noise levels were measured in both A-weighted and C-weighted decibels (dBA and dBC). A simplified explanation is that A-weighting adjusts sound measurements to reflect the frequencies heard in human speech, and C-weighting adjusts the measurements to emphasize low frequencies, such as those heard in a bass beat in recorded music.
Sound pressure levels ranged from 93.2 to 101.0 dBC (88.0 to 97.5 dBA), and that’s enough to cause auditory damage.
Any temporary symptoms such as ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or muffling of sound (noise-induced threshold shift) indicate that permanent auditory damage has occurred.
If the noise in your gym is too loud to carry on a normal conversation without straining to speak or to be heard–a typical situation in many if not most gyms with fitness classes–it’s too loud, and your hearing is at risk.