According to the World Health Organisation guidelines, listening to sounds above one hundred decibels for more than fifteen minutes a day will cause significant hearing impairment and eventually lead to hearing loss. They also suggest that listening to anything at more than eighty decibels should be limited to under eight hours a day.
We often read about how certain things produce different levels of volume, such as a train producing over one hundred decibels as it whooshes by. This knowledge to be managed with reference to proximity as well, of course. If we know a pneumatic drill produces one hundred and twenty decibels of sound, and stand next to it, we will experience the full aural impact. From a distance away, the impact is less.
What it does mean, for educators, is that we have to manage our children’s environment to avoid them suffering passive harm to their ears.
Play areas in schools can get very noisy over lunch times. If you happen to standing next to a group of kids playing a noisy but exciting game, just passive observance of the game will render you subject to the impact of the noise.
In schools, the sound of the loud school bells signifying the end of have to be rung at short bursts, rather than for continuous durations.
On their way home they pass by noisy vehicles that blare out Dance Music as if it were cool to do so.
Then they have go on their computer games or phones and other sorts of devices and listen to what we might “technology music“, music that has been produced by for that purpose.
That is a lot of sound they are being exposed to.
We often talk about limiting screen time for children and are more conscious about that, getting them to rest their eyes and avoiding prolonged focussing and exposure. But what we have to realise that the ears are exposed to sounds and noises too.
Loud noise can have a debilitating impact. Just ask RB Lepzig football player Timo Werner, who experienced dizziness while playing against noisy Besiktas, and had to be substituted midway through the first half.
We have to protect society’s children from increasing levels of sound in society, so that they can live quality lives when they are older.