Electronic Dance Music is arguably the fastest growing trend in popular music right now, and it seems to be doing nothing but getting bigger. Increasingly more artists from other genres are releasing songs with electronic influences and DJ cameos, and these songs are roaring right up the charts. This stuff is cranking loud in headphones across America and infecting concert venue bills faster than you can say “Raise Your Weapon.” The popularity of EDM is easy to understand. It’s fun. And people love to dance. But there is a very serious downside to the trend, growing more dangerous as the music spreads.
The fact is that, as EDM reaches more ears, we may need to begin weaning ourselves off its signature heavy bass lines and sweeping wobbles with a quickness. Studies have shown that extended exposure to excessively loud music repeated over several occurrences can cause permanent hearing damage. Of course, this has been generally known since Beethoven began losing his hearing around 1796 (he was cranking that piano through some serious stacks), but it seems that there is a growing concern that EDM may be exacerbating the problem.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration claims that 90 decibels (dB), about the volume of a noisy office, is the average sound intensity that a human can withstand for eight hours without any hearing damage. Anything past this mark and tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, becomes a distinct possibility. Tinnitus is an early symptom of hearing impairment, removing the normal masking effect of low-level noise causing you to hear all the muscle movement, blood flow, and eardrum vibration inside your own head. At any given EDM show, you can expect to absorb over 110dB for several hours, which is about the equivalent of putting your ear up to a chainsaw all night. This is a rather significant difference, considering that every increase of 10dB translates to about doubling the volume output, according to Hearing Aid Know. Of course, EDM shows weren’t the first to break the 100dB barrier – any metal fan could tell you that…if they could hear the question, of course. But it seems that electronic dance music has one distinct factor that may be on its way to filling the future with hearing-impaired, former EDM enthusiasts. Continue reading ‘Turn Down The Bass’