by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
Each year the World Health Organization designates March 3 as World Hearing Day. WHO also chooses a theme each year. For this year’s World Hearing Day, the theme is “Don’t let hearing loss limit you. Hearing for life.”
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention works with the WHO to help support and promote World Hearing Day, and The Quiet Coalition in turn works with CDC to help spread the word.
Our focus is on prevention of hearing loss and other auditory disorders like tinnitus and hyperacusis. We suggest installing a sound level meter on your smartphone. The app from CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health is accurate and free.
But you don’t need a sound meter to know if it’s too loud. If you can’t carry on a conversation at the normal social distance of 3-4 feet, the ambient noise is above 75 A-weighted decibels* and your auditory health is in danger.
One simple rule can help preserve your hearing: if it sounds too loud, it IS too loud!
Turn down the volume of amplified sound, insert earplugs, leave the noisy environment, or be at risk for needing hearing aids later.
*A-weighting adjusts sound measurements for the frequencies heard in human speech.
Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He is the founding chair of The Quiet Coalition, an organization of science, health, and legal professionals concerned about the impacts of noise on health, environment, learning, productivity, and quality of life in America. Dr Fink also is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’ Health Advisory Council, and he served on the board of the American Tinnitus Association from 2015-2018.