Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Pete Townshend vs. iPod

Throw away your iPods, chillun, lest you end up like Pete Townshend, says Pete Townshend.

It would be irresponsible of me, as a highly-trained specialist in hearing and balance disorders, to advocate excessive exposure to high amplitude noise of any kind. But. Come. On. Noise-induced hearing loss is cumulative over a lifetime. Townshend's career spans something like 42 years of playing a Telecaster next to a stack of HiWatt amplifiers. If we looked at a weighted average of noise intensity over his career, I'm betting most of the damage he sustained to his hearing occurred when his stage volume was averaging 100 to 120 dB (this is my personal estimate based on one Who show I attended, so take it with the appropriate size grain of salt). 15 minutes of exposure to continuous 100dB sound is enough to incur permanent damage to your hearing.

5 Comments:

Blogger honestpartisan said...

I love listening to my ipod, but I've wondered sometimes about the effect on my hearing. I have low-level tinnitus that doesn't seem to have affected my hearing ability (had it tested), but how cautious should I be about listening to the thing real often? Sometimes on a subway!

1/04/2006 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger K. Pablo said...

Oh, right, I'm supposed to give a lawyer medical advice over the internet?

What follows, despite being written by one of the FOREMOST EXPERTS IN THE U.S. (if not the Solar System) is in NO WAY to be construed as medical advice. In fact, its intent is strictly comedic. It is a metaphor, if you will. Or a simile; not sure, these things were never my strong point. Please, ask your own well-meaning-but-ignorant physician about this information before doing anything rash. But:

According to OSHA workplace regulations, a human adult can be exposed to unlimited daily doses of 75 dBA. This is roughly the level encountered in busy traffic. Average conversation, by comparison, takes place at about 60 dB. Note that the decibel scale is logarithmic and an increase of 3 dB represents a doubling of sound energy.

Average level of noise in a factory is at 85 dB and OSHA limits this level of noise exposure to a maximum of 16 continuous hours.

I have no idea how loud you listen to your iPod. Assuming it is loud enough to drown out subway noise, I doubt it's more than 85 dB. So you are good to go, most likely. In the strictest theoretical and satirical sense that is not meant as medical advice.

P.S. tinnitus shminnitus....

1/04/2006 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger honestpartisan said...

I unconditionally, knowingly, and voluntarily relinquish and waive any and all possible causes of action that may arise from your comment on your blog. Thanks.

By the way, what do you mean "tinnitus shminnitus" I do hear a constant ringing (which I've had checked out, incidentally, and was told it was nothing to worry about but nothing that they can really fix, either).

1/05/2006 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger K. Pablo said...

oh, i get grumpy at the mere MENTION of tinnitus. i like problems that can be solved. Sorry.

1/05/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger K. Pablo said...

this does not constitute an endorsement but it's a possible work-around...

1/11/2006 10:37:00 AM  

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