Sound Basics

What is sound? How do we measure it? 

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What is Sound?

..and how to completely block out your partner's snoring

Sound, put simply, is vibration. It travels through solid, liquid and gas, which is why you can hear the sound from a tuning fork if you place it on your elbow.

Interesting fact - This means you can get hearing loss even if you wear hearing protection. For example, the engine, compressor and pumps on some boats create vibrations that travel through the hull of the boat to its passengers. Wearing hearing protection might shut out the vibration travels through the air and enters your ear canal, but it can’t stop the vibrations that travel through you via bone conduction.

Unfortunately, that does mean that the only way to completely isolate yourself from sound is to be in a vacuum. For those of you who really want to block out the snores and catch some zzz's, skip ahead to this section.

But sound is a good thing. It connects you with people and your environment, helps you keep your sense of balance and warns you when danger is around the corner (or when your alarm rings!). "Laughter is the best medicine" because sound is so integrated with your autonomic nervous system, it can positively affect your mental wellbeing.

Conversely, sound can hurt, both physically and mentally. Which is why we have dedicated this site to being a growing resource to the many ways to manage and protect your ears, especially with regards to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). NIHL is permanent. Unlike grass, your ear hair cells (cilia) never grow back. Noise-induced hearing is 100% preventable, and we can prove that with these 3 simple steps that you can take to ensure you can keep hearing for life. 

But first, let's talk about how sound is measured, and what 100 decibels really means

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Decibels and Pascals

What does 120 dB really mean?

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Measuring Sound

Hint: There's a (free) app for that!

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Attenuating sound

What does a 20 dB or Class 3 earplug really do?

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Why Sound Matters

And why we refuse to wearing hearing protection

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Next topic: Sound Health

If silence is gold and duct tape is silver, how much is your health worth?