Even everyday sounds can damage your hearing

19 Apr '2017 Sound

Yelling in a bar, a passing train, a crying baby: we are surrounded by loud sounds wherever we go. Are daily noises harmful to your ears? And wouldn’t it be great to have a volume button for everyday life?

The high piercing sound of an alarm clock kicks off your day. Followed by a blowdryer, the fruit juicer, your dog barking, someone trying to impress you with his Harley Davidson, animated conversations with friends over dinner, a snoring lover, the smoke alarm that accidentally goes off when your midnight pizza gets too crunchy; daily life is full of noisy surprises. And not all are very much appreciated by our ears.

Of course, the last thing we want is damaging our precious hearing equipment. But how dangerous are these seemingly normal sounds? How great would it be, to be able to switch off the bustle and find some silence. Should we wear hearing protection in daily life?

Watch out: an ambulance!

With the greater amount of technology in our society also grows the level of noise we encounter. Richard de Jong is one of the technical designers of Knops: “Damage is done when your ears are exposed to a certain decibel level, for a certain time. Like 85 dB’s are dangerous after 8 hours, 125 dB is harmful after approximately 15 seconds. A big problem is that normal bustling city life is already 85 dB’s, apart from peak sounds like in traffic, like an ambulance, so this exposure forms a daily risk.”

No noise?

Science shows that the deterioration is already widespread. 1 in 5 of the participants in a big American CDC-research, who reported no job-related noise, suffered hearing damage in a pattern that’s typically caused by noise. The damage appeared as early as age 20. And 1 out of 4 who reported they had ‘good to excellent hearing’ in fact already showed signs of hearing loss.

What did you say?

Ok, a really loud blast that leaves a beep, that’s a kind of unmissable sign of disapproval from your poor ears. But most of us don’t carry a dB-meter with us in our tote bags. So how do we know when a sound is harmful? If you, after a day of work or traffic, feel a ringing or a sense of fullness in the ears, consider that a bad sign. And stick to this practical rule: if you are in a place where you have to shout to be heard an arm length away, then your ears are in danger. Maybe you should think of hearing protection for your daily life. Because hearing loss lasts forever.

The story of Knops: this is how it all started

Our story begins a long time ago. In a galaxy far far away. Or, to be more exact, in 2015 in a little place we’d like to call Amsterdam. A group of creative friends came together to explore a solution to prevent hearing damage. Lowlands Festival The story starts with our engineer Arjen de Jong: “I was at Lowlands, a big music festival in the Netherlands. During the live concerts the music is, obviously, very loud. Therefore I was wearing these simple earplugs. In between two acts I was getting some drinks at the bar next to the stage. When I came