What is HearAngel’s® Objective?
We think it is important to make clear that we don’t want to stop you from wearing and enjoying your headphones we just want to make it safer for you with no long-lasting effects!
For the first time, you will have the information you need to manage your risk and optional automatic protection if you wish. We have also included options so you can safeguard your children’s hearing too.
Headphones, Earpieces, or Earbuds?
These are all the same to us at LimitEar®
, so we will refer to them all as Headphones…..
What Causes Hearing loss?
You may already be aware that exposure to short bursts of very loud sounds, 140dB and above, will permanently damage your hearing. What is less well known is that large sound doses will also permanently damage your hearing too. In everyday life, you are much more likely to be exposed to a large sound dose than to very loud sounds, and for most of us the sound dose will come from using headphones.
What is a Sound Dose?
A sound dose is a complex combination of how long you listen, how loud you listen and the energy content of what you are listening to. As a guide electronic dance music is very high energy, whilst speech is relatively low energy. So if you plan on listening for a long period of time, you might want to consider listening to a podcast or a play rather than listening to electronic dance music.
Do Automatic Noise Cancelling (ANC/ANR) Headphones work with HearAngel®?
Yes they do, very well in fact.
If you use headphones in a noisy environment (on a flight, on the tube or subway for example) you might want to consider using noise cancelling headphones. Let us explain, sound that you don’t want to listen to is called “noise” and the noise around you is known as “ambient noise”. The problem with the examples above are that they are generally high ambient noise environments, so if you want to listen to your “reproduced sound” (that’s what comes out of your headphones) you are going to have to turn up the volume, often to a level which will become damaging in 15 to 20 minutes. The higher the volume the more quickly you will use up your Daily Sound Allowance®
(see separate FAQ entry) so if you can use ANC/ANR headphones they will reduce the residual ambient noise and you will therefore be able to listen at a lower level, extending your safe listening period.
What is your Daily Sound Allowance® (DSA®)?
is the sound dose (see separate FAQ entry) which hearing health professionals recommend that you not to exceed each day. If you regularly exceed your DSA®
you chances of suffering from noise induced hearing loss will increase substantially.
What is a Decibel (dB)?
A Decibel (dB) is the scientific unit used to measure the intensity of a sound. The decibel scale is used because the human ear is incredibly sensitive and its perception of changes in loudness is approximately proportional to dB or ratio.
Your ears can hear everything from your fingertip brushing lightly over your skin to a loud jet engine. In terms of power, the sound of the jet engine is about 1,000,000,000,000 times (120dB) more powerful than the smallest audible sound. That’s a big difference!
Our hearing is more sensitive to some frequencies than others, as is the susceptibility to damage. The standard used to take account of this is known as A-weighting. Measurements for sound intensity are therefore denoted dBA. It is important to be precise when stating such parameters.
On the decibel scale, the smallest audible sound (near total silence) is 0 dBA. A sound 10 times more powerful is 10 dBA. A sound 100 times more powerful than near total silence is 20 dBA. A sound 1,000 times more powerful than near total silence is 30 dBA.
Here are some common sounds and their decibel ratings:
- Near total silence – 0 dBA
- A whisper – 15 dBA
- Normal conversation – 60 dBA
- A lawnmower – 90 dBA
- A car horn – 110 dBA
- A rock concert or a jet engine – 120 dBA
- A gunshot or firecracker – 140 dBA
There is a second measure of sound intensity dBC. This C-weighting characteristic is used to measure peak intensities rather than the average intensities of dBA.
Any sound above 85 dBA can cause hearing loss, and the loss is related both to the power of the sound as well as the length of exposure. You know that you are listening to an 85 dBA (approximately) sound level if you have to raise your voice to be heard by somebody else standing 6 feet away. Eight hours of more than 85 dBA sound can cause damage to your ears; any exposure to 140 dBC sound causes immediate damage (and causes actual pain!).
How does HearAngel deal with In Car Bluetooth connections?
Version 12 of the HearAngel®
App treats all Bluetooth connections to the phone as headphones. This means that it will also currently monitor (and control the level of) any audio being sent to your car radio via a Bluetooth connection if automatic DSA®
and Level Protection is enabled. The result is that your in-car music (via your phone) and Satnav Instructions are will contribute to your DSA®
and may also be turned down if you have automatic protection turned on.
A temporary workaround, is to lower the media volume setting on the phone and compensate by turning up the volume of the radio – this will minimise the effects on you DSA®
monitoring, then go to go to settings in HearAngel®
, and turn off all the switches in the Protection section.
We apologise for this oversight and provision for in-car connections will be included in the next update.