Were you the lucky recipient of a new mobile phone for Christmas? Or are you planning to buy one for a loved one? Did you know that your smartphone has various features to help you protect your hearing health?
So much of our life now happens through our smartphone. We call, text, email or videocall our friends, family and work colleagues. We watch films and TV, listen to music, read books, share content on social platforms, all from a single pocket-sized device. But this means it’s also all too easy to expose our hearing to excessively high sound levels when we’re plugged into our phones with earphones.
Understanding the pros and cons
The safest maximum sound level for people to experience is 85 decibels (dB) for no more than eight hours a day. This is equivalent to a busy road or a lawn mower. Exceed that level and you’re in danger of damaging your hearing permanently. However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that personal audio devices can reach sound levels as high as 136 dB. The WHO reports that half of teenagers and young adults aged 12-35 are exposed to unsafe sound levels through their personal devices.
However, our smartphones also offer built-in apps or access to downloadable apps that enable us to monitor our sound exposure and protect our hearing health.
If you have an iPhone…
The iOS 13 operating system enables users to monitor their exposure to loud audio levels. This ‘Headphone Audio Levels’ feature can be found in the Health app and provides data about your headphone audio levels – telling you whether they’re too loud, or okay. The app even enables you to measure the sound levels in the environment around you.
Even if you have an Android phone there’s a wide range of free and paid-for sound monitoring apps that you can download from the App Store, which turn your smartphone into a sound level meter. Decibel X is a user-friendly and nicely designed app that measures up to 130 dB, while SPL Meter is a professional-grade sound meter. Both of these are available on Android and iOS and will help you to become familiar with what sound levels get the green light, and which may be putting you at risk.
Remember that if you’re worried about your hearing,
The Hearing Clinic is here to help. Give us a call on 01923 372101 (Radlett) or 01462 506074 (Hitchin).