I know I am hypersensitive to sound but I do believe theaters have grown louder over the years. I recently tried going to a movie but found myself leaving once the previews started because the volume was so high.
Experts agree that continued exposure to noise above 85dB will, over time, cause hearing loss. To know if a sound is loud enough to damage your ears, it is important to know both the loudness level (measured in decibels, dB) and the length of exposure to the sound. In general, the louder the noise, the less time required before hearing loss will occur. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (1998), the maximum exposure time at 85dB is 8 hours. At 110dB, the maximum exposure time is one minute and 29 seconds. If you must be exposed to noise, it is recommended that you limit the exposure time and/or wear hearing protection. I found a study where they took three famous films and tested the decibel level and this is what they found:
1. Harry Potter - about 70’ish but peak is in high 90’s
2. Lord of the Rings - mid 70’s but peak was about mid 90’s
3. Star Trek - about the same as Lord of the Rings
You can see we are putting our ears and our kids’ ears through hell without any type of protection. I am not saying keep them home or wait for it to come out on DVD to monitor the sound (though, you would save a lot of money that way), but why not get some cool looking ear buds?
I am in the Halloween spirit so let’s put on our fangs and take BITE out of unnecessarily loud movie volumes.
My name is Jeff Swartz and I live in Atlanta, GA. I am married to wonderful wife and have two teenaged daughter.