Bass Impact without Hearing Loss

Are you or is someone you know a “bass junkie?”

Most everyone knows at least one “bass junkie.” That is, someone who revels in sound pressure levels others may find annoying. Home theater retailers share “horror stories” about customers that ignore safety warnings to “crank up” subwoofers past recommended listening levels. These customers are demanding “more physical involvement” but seeking it in the wrong place.

Custom installers charge good money to calibrate sound systems, only to find customers bypassing the settings to get a little extra “oomph” out of their subs. Unfortunately, this often annoys neighbors, wakes babies, muddies sound fields, and is actually dangerous to a family’s hearing.

Using a subwoofer alone to create intense physical involvement is potentially hazardous to the human eardrum.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines require that workers exposed to 85 decibels (over an 8hr average) use hearing protection. Levels above 115 decibels should be completely avoided and can cause instant and permanent hearing damage.
As you can see, a subway train registers around 90 dB in the real world. Trying to reproduce the feeling of this train with speakers alone can easily surpass 110 decibels. At only 110 decibels over short periods, you may already be causing irreparable damage (and probably annoying your neighbors and/or spouse!)