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R/E/P => R/E/P Archives => Brad Blackwood => Topic started by: Alécio Costa - Brazil on March 20, 2005, 10:50:52 am

Title: Protecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: Alécio Costa - Brazil on March 20, 2005, 10:50:52 am
Hi friends,
Recently I have been impressed with the number of musicians, recording engineers and producers under 40's with some serious hearing losses.
Audiometry exams, limiting your maximum working time, avoiding a too stressing routine  with such high SPLS are the first advices that come to our minds. But you know, sometimes we have those situations where everything is under a deadline.
Below, I present a table containing the number of maximum hours when one is exposed to a specific SPL.
This data is from Brazilian research. however,  I imagine it is not much different from  what you folks have in the USA/Europe.
Here we go:

BRAZIL - RULE OF 5
85 dBA  - 8 hours
90 dBA  - 4 hours
95 dBA -  2 hours
100 dBA - 1 hour
105 dBA - 30 minutes

Hope it helps
Nice weekend
Smile

Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: Level on March 20, 2005, 11:03:57 am
From OSHA:

http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_tabl e=STANDARDS&p_id=9735&p_text_version=FALSE
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: lucey on March 20, 2005, 12:59:28 pm
On a daily basis, with any sleep deprivation, the OSHA numbers are to my ear too loud.  I need more breaks per hour at those levels.

So at say 30 mins/tune a 5 min break per tune, or twice an hour ... I can listen at 85-90 dbA.
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: zetterstroem on March 20, 2005, 03:09:33 pm
i hope these are avarage levels measured over the whole 8 hours.... you do not go deaf after 8 hours of music (a day) at 85dB peaks

i recommend a minimum of 115dB all the time.... then you don't have to worry 'bout your hearing.... and then you can concentrate on playing in that punk band instead  Twisted Evil
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: bobkatz on March 20, 2005, 09:50:14 pm
ZETTERSTROEM wrote on Sun, 20 March 2005 15:09

i hope these are avarage levels measured over the whole 8 hours.... you do not go deaf after 8 hours of music (a day) at 85dB peaks

i recommend a minimum of 115dB all the time.... then you don't have to worry 'bout your hearing.... and then you can concentrate on playing in that punk band instead  Twisted Evil




We have to distinguish between average and peak level measurements, and though there is probably no data to support it, I suspect that peak to average ratios, duration and even distortion have something to do with ear degradation.

I don't see what A weighting has to do with signal exposure AT ALL. A weighting comes from some OSHA nonsense. A weighting was intended for measuring the ear's sensitivity to noise floor at low levels, though even that does not correlate with psychoacoustics. A weighting loud signals, to my mind, will reduce the sensitivity of the test to signals that can damage the ear.

Anyway, if you find yourself turning the monitor gain up over time, WATCH OUT!

As a mastering engineer I consider myself fortunate, because unlike mixing engineers, we usually don't have to microscopically dissect the same section of a piece over and over again. Mastering engineer's exposure in a given day is often quite reasonable.

BK
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: TotalSonic on March 20, 2005, 11:02:24 pm
I actually have one of those cheap (and kind of inaccurate) Radio Shack spl meters sitting on my desk (you can change from A to C weighting on it though) to give me kind of an extra reference regarding keeping monitoring consistent - but also as an "alarm" as to when clients are really making some crazy requests during attended sessions - i.e. time for me to push play and leave the room while they want me to simulate "club time".  I make pretty much make it a point to take silence breaks in between cutting every 2 sides also.

I find it really important to hold to certain "rules" in daily life to try and preserve hearing in basically the noisy environment of NYC  - i.e. even though my subway commutes are perfect listening times I deliberately won't listen to music at those points because even with the best of phones I find you end it up cranking it beyond what is really safe for daily doseage.

Best regards,
Steve Berson
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: bblackwood on March 21, 2005, 05:42:53 am
TotalSonic wrote on Sun, 20 March 2005 22:02

I find it really important to hold to certain "rules" in daily life to try and preserve hearing in basically the noisy environment of NYC  - i.e. even though my subway commutes are perfect listening times I deliberately won't listen to music at those points because even with the best of phones I find you end it up cranking it beyond what is really safe for daily doseage.

Excellent point. Driving around is another good example. I think people often overlook the amount of noise we are exposing ourselves to every day...
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: turtletone on March 21, 2005, 06:18:48 am
I have the etymotic high end in ear bud thingys. 30db noise reduction and they actually sound very good. I put them in whether or not i'm listening to music when I ride the subway. Helps kill some of that 120db train entering the station at high speed noise. I had to stop listening to music in my jeep at freeway speeds cause it was just way too loud.
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: ammitsboel on March 21, 2005, 06:27:42 am
TurtleTone wrote on Mon, 21 March 2005 11:18

I have the etymotic high end in ear bud thingys


Do they vibrate too?? Laughing
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: dave-G on March 21, 2005, 06:30:39 am
When I was about 17 or 18, I made the mistake of going to a Parliament/Funkadellic show unprepared for the pant-shaking SPLs that they put out that night. Maybe an hour into the show, I finally tore a sleeve off my t-shirt, tore pieces off it, and stuffed what I could in my ears.  When we left the show, I was in horror, as my ears were ringing.  I couldn't sleep..  The next morning, they were still ringing and I worried like hell that I'd killed my hearing for good..  By the end of that day and the morning after, I was thankfully getting back to normal.  

I then became something of an earplug junkie..

When I was in art school I did a lot of steel sculpture, and wore foam plugs beneath the gun-range earmuffs before I'd expose myself to the sounds of grinding. chop sawing or general resonant pounding that went on in the studio there.

I wear plugs any time I get on a plane.

I also keep a few pairs of foam plugs in my car (I use them on long trips, or for freeway travel with open windows)

I went to visit an engineer-friend some years ago and arrived while he was finishing his yardwork.  I was amazed to see him running his big-ass backpack leafblower with protective glasses, but no plugs..  A recording engineer!!  

Sometimes I'll even wear plugs when not "protecting" my hearing, sometimes just to acclimate to the attenuation for a little while before mixing (ie: while reading forums, downloading files from FTP). Then I take them out when I begin and my hearing seems super-acute for a while, even at very moderate SPLs ..  I dunno,  it's fun.

Maybe I'm a freak.  I have no idea if I'm being overprotective, but I hear well, my audiometric test results always look like a line at the top of the graph, and I value the quality and quantity..  

Do most of you use them as much?  I'm curious about the etymotics or other fitted plugs. I've  I've been perfectly happy with plain-old foam plugs, but a custom pair might make a good birthday or x-mas present.

BTW:  Best AES swag ever?  Fletcher/Mercenary's "HUH??" earplug pouches.  I still carry the yellow one from the 1994 AES in SF.

-dave
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: turtletone on March 21, 2005, 07:22:57 am
I didn't get the vibrate option on mine.

I recommend these etymotics to anyone looking for an in ear monitor. They sound excellent and you don't have to crank them in any environment. I take them everywhere, even at AES shows you can listen meaningfully to gear. I also don't have to pretend I can't hear my girlfriend whinning in the background.
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: jackthebear on March 21, 2005, 07:57:40 am
Actually a reasonable test I read to check if you're monitoring too loud was to rub your thumb and index finger together and if you couldn't hear the sound then chances are you're music was too loud.

Cheers,
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: jackthebear on March 21, 2005, 07:59:56 am
I should add that you would rub your fingers fairly close to your ear. I'm guessing an inch or so.

Cheers,
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: OTR-jkl on March 21, 2005, 10:06:08 am
I have a pair of little rubbery, poly-something ear plugs that I got back in my aircraft maintenance days. I always wear them when I'm doing yardwork or using power tools and things like that. Also, my car is pretty noisy so I hafta watch how loud I crank the stereo to try to hear stuff over it while on the freeway. Anymore, most of the time I'd rather keep it low to see how much I can actually hear w/o cranking.

Like others here, I'm very protective of my hearing these days...
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: Ronny on March 21, 2005, 10:23:47 am



Anyone tried those outside noise cancelling headphones? Not the Super Phones that att outside noise by -29dB, but the type like Bose is pushing on the TV. I might audition them if they weren't made by Bose. I find their advertising spiels to be a bit too much, especially on their Big Wave Radio, watched an hour informercial on it one time and they never played the thing once. It was all used car salesman talk. Stick an ear trumpet in front of a speaker, call it a revolutionary design and sell 30 dollars worth of parts for $1378.
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: turtletone on March 21, 2005, 03:32:27 pm
I took a listen to those bose noise cancelling phones and I couldn't stand the way they sounded. They had a boost around 12k-15k that was completely puke inducing.
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: Level on March 21, 2005, 03:58:44 pm
The finger rub masking test is at 6 inches for a given of about 83dB. Try it. "Like" frequencies at 85dB.. will mask it.

One inch is very audible at 100dB pressures/ambient.

Disclamer for the forum:

This is what I experienced, YMWV.

Nothing scientific for anyone else and purely subjective.

Everyone hears and perception is different with each subject..hence subjectivity.

My experiences may change with age.

Do not publish this as fact.

It is made up in my mind.

Don't bank on it..

Be warned.

Stop it!!

Stop!!!

LOL!

Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: lucey on March 21, 2005, 04:56:25 pm
TurtleTone wrote on Mon, 21 March 2005 15:32

I took a listen to those bose noise cancelling phones and I couldn't stand the way they sounded. They had a boost around 12k-15k that was completely puke inducing.


What a shock ...

Bose and Monster Cable should get married and then kill each other on Jerry Springer.
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: Andy Simpson on March 22, 2005, 09:59:40 am
On the subject of earplugs and cars, I find the 'classic' yellow plugs are perfect for me. In the car/van I put them in and can crank up the music so that the noise floor of the motorway is almost silence and I don't adjust the eq on the stereo because I don't need to.

I think I must be somewhat unusual because I've only ever been to 2 gigs (or any other loud event) without earplugs (way way back).
Basically, I have never calibrated my hearing to loudness and am probably the only FOH engineer who has never heard his work without earplugs....which is ironic really since I'm so damn good! Wink

I guage loudness and eq by pure experience and unlike every engineer I hear, I sound as good at the end of the night as I do at the start, so the last band on don't sound suffer from tired (fucked) ears.
This calibration comes from balancing everything against the natural sound of a drumkit and other loud accoustic instruments (which I've only ever heard via earplugs or a studio microphone).

I'm sure all the seasonned (deaf?) FOH guys will dismiss this as ridiculous and implausible, but I have to say that I wish more FOH guys and the audience would wear these plugs.....obviously it's too late if your ears have already lost too much gain to compensate.

I get all kinds of compliments for my (never over-loud or over-bright) FOH sound and the next/same day my ears are still ready for my studio work.

* I do always make a point of telling the barstaff/promoters/etc to consult me if they feel the volume is too loud or too quiet....and I always ask at the end to make sure. No complaints yet. Wink

Andy

PS. on a recent trip to the cavern (liverpool) I happened to be talking to the in-house FOH man, who noticed my earplugs and told me that it was a good idea since he had measured stage levels from 115-120dB on a regular basis!
That place was painfully loud on stage even with earplugs! No joke.
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: Allen Corneau on March 22, 2005, 01:33:50 pm
>I have to say that I wish more FOH guys and the audience would wear these >plugs.....

Wouldn't the better solution be to turn the FOH down?!?

I'm glad I don' do live sound anymore!

Allen
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: Level on March 22, 2005, 01:38:16 pm
My last gig was 91dB average with no more than 100dB peaks at the console and it was plenty loud for all.
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: Allen Corneau on March 22, 2005, 01:48:34 pm
Sorry for getting ahead of myself. That comment wasn't directed at you, but more of a general statement of: "why the f*** does it have to be so friggin' loud in the first place?!?"

I would really like to support the bands I work with by going to see thier shows, but it's always super-loud, and the thick smoke doesn't help either!

The saying goes, "If it's too loud, then you're too old." Well, I'm not "too old", I just value my hearing.

Arg! OK, ranting done.

Allen
Title: Re: Potecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: Andy Simpson on March 23, 2005, 10:43:11 am
Yeah, of course I agree it'd be great if it could be alot quieter.
More than half the problem is bands with loud drummers, loud loud loud 100w guitar amps and the other half of the problem is that the audience won't shut up.....

Most of the time I just try to get the band audible over the crowd noise.....for those who actually want to listen.

If the audience would simply be quiet and listen!.....

But the audience don't actually want to hear the band, they want to chat, and since they're standing anyway, it becomes club mentality with everyone in the room screaming into someone elses ear at 140dB - by far the most dangerous noise in the room!
This does not happen at classical recitals! (although the spl is sometimes pretty dangerous for the musicians).
Wink

And don't get me started on passive smoking! I always find the extractor fans/air-con in the venue and turn it on before I start (why is it never turned on by default?).

Andy
Title: Re: Protecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: -phile- on April 06, 2005, 09:19:44 am
Hi guys,

I know this thread has been dea for a while but there is a couple of questions that I would like to ask... Well, I am in NYC (live in Brooklyn) and have been into production for a while now (all aspects -- from programming to premstering/post production -- el. musician trying to do it all myself)... The thing is I have gone to a lot of club events here where the DJ was soo deaf himself that he would crank up mids and highs on the mixer while also turning the gain all the way up -- and the ringing in my ear (or as I would like to say -- "phone calls from the other lobe") has been experienced quite a bit in the past....

My question is : is there anywhere in the city that I can get an audiometry test done -- pretty much completely test my hearing ... I asked my doctor and he had no idea of where to find an audiologies (mind you I am not even saying "good"). The part that freaks me out is that -- for small sounds glitches here and there , audio work, anything that is out of the ordinary (like talking and tv) I can pick out very quickly , no matter how low the level is (I have suprised friends that way -- being able to hear things they weren't), BUT at the same time for speach and tv I need to turn it up to start hearing properly and making out the words without problem and this is freaking me out. On music I usually work on very low levels, till the mixing stage, and my space is treated quite nicely  , so there shouldn't be any constant nodes affecting me on a regular basis ... however my commute is a nightmare since I do listen to my iPod very loud on a pair of Bose Triports... but my hearing on small noises is very good (actually recently I just wear the headphones without turning the music one...just as mufflers)... I am using filters now whenever I go to a club (a pair of 12db(I think) I got from SamAsh), but I want to get the fitted veriable filter that you need an audiologist to take the measures.

Thank you very much in advance!

Best Rgrds,

Tim
Title: Re: Protecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: Ronny on April 06, 2005, 11:53:42 pm



Can't find an otologist in NY, wow, that's like not being able to find a cow turd in Texas.  Smile

Look in the phone book white pages for Bel-tone near you, they are one of the biggest hearing aid franchises and will be able to test you on site in their retail outlet. There are hundreds of those all over the country. Also some optical places like Pearl Optical do hearing tests as well as eye exams, some only on certain days by appointment. If no Bel-Tones in NY, do a search for otologists in the yellow pages. These are ear doctors, some just deal with diseases of the ear, but they'll be able to tell you where to go to get tested if they don't personally test.
Title: Re: Protecting your ears -LIMITING SPL exposure
Post by: -phile- on April 09, 2005, 10:41:01 am
Ronny,

Thank you very much for the reply. That is exactly what surprised me - my doctor was trying to convince me that there is no way to find somebody (yellow pages honestly didnot come to mind Sad ), I guess time to look for a new one Smile.

Anyway, I really appreciate the advice and will definitely be using your recommendations.

Tim