John has worked at a lot of places where there are big signs warning of the need for hearing protection. You don't see those signs much in an office environment, but maybe they should be everywhere.
In this episode John and Ben talk about noise. Noise is a big problem. A lot of people tend to overlook it. A lot of people tend to shrug it off like its no big deal. But you only get one set of ears, and once they're wrecked you're out of luck.
Special Note: We're running a short poll about units of measurement used in the show as well as the possibility of putting up a live stream when we record. Please let us know what you think!
- Health effects from noise
- Road surface
- MotorCycle Noise (PDF)
- High-Frequency Hearing Loss Incurred by Exposure to Low-Frequency Noise (PDF)
- Weighting filter
- Sound Pressure
- Noise Level Chart
- Understanding NRRs
- Hearing Protection (Example only)
- The Top 30 Quietest Cars
- The Top 30 Noisiest Cars
- Decibel Equivalent Table
- Sound Barriers
- Researchers Recommend Safe Listening Levels for Apple iPod
- Apple Ear Pods (PDF)
- Refraction of Sound Waves
Partial Episode Transcription
John: The headphones that Apple had before the EarPods I think had been pretty well consistent during that time period. The ones we had up til a couple years ago, those older style Apple earbuds were tested and with different music players, obviously having different power outputs for the headphones, they were suggesting that anything above 50% volume in your headphones were generally something where you should have a time limit for how long you're listening to music. Anything over 50% volume could potentially cause hearing damage over a long enough period of time.
Obviously the louder it is the less time it takes to damage your hearing. To the point at which, if you're at 100% of maximum volume the listening time is down to 5 minutes. So you listen to that at full volume for five minutes and you're going to start damaging your hearing.
Ben: Hmmm. Guess what.
John: I know guess what, right?
What I mean about damaging hearing I'll talk about what I mean in a minute. But just a little more about that. There's been a few independent tests that have been done on the EarPods and if you look at their response and power and what they generate in terms of sound pressure they are simply not as loud compared to the earbuds that they replaced.
And the reason for that is simple. They've sacrificed containing the audio inside the ear for a bit of comfort. But they've also provided a bit more, ah, how should I put it... the frequency response is more tailored to bass. If you listen to both EarPods and earbuds from Apple as I have and I'm sure many of our listeners have you'll hear that the difference there is quite marked. The low frequency is quite better on the EarPods than the earbuds.
And that bears out on the tests that I've looked at and are linked to in the show notes. However as a result they do not generate a sum total of as much sound pressure. Essentially what I'm saying is that they're softer.