Can a person go deaf by listening at Reference Level?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by David Ruiz, Jan 25, 2002.

  1. David Ruiz

    David Ruiz Second Unit

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    Hi Everyone,

    I was wondering if a person go deaf by listening to many movies at reference level all the time? I usually watch most of my movies at full reference level (according to Video Essentials), and even though it's extremely loud, it really doesn't bother my ears, and I was wondering, if it would cause permanant damage over time. Movies that I've seen at reference level include FIGHT CLUB & The most infamous of all "U-571"...And let me tell you, they are *EXTREMELY* LOUD, but I watch the whole movie at the volume.
     
  2. RobR

    RobR Second Unit

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    Could you repeat that? I didn't hear you [​IMG]
    It depends on how long you are exposed to the loud volume. Just because your ears don't hurt doesn't mean damage isn't occuring.
    According to OSHA, the maximum safe exposure at 85 dB is eight hours. The exposure time allowed is cut in half for every 5 decibel increase. You do the math.
     
  3. Steve Y

    Steve Y Supporting Actor

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    This may sound crazy, but if anyone is truly concerned about his/her hearing I would suggest wearing foam earplugs at reference levels (or even slightly below)... that way you'll still "feel" the sound and hear most everything you need to hear (dialogue, explosions, sound effects)... some sound effects, like quiet bird chirps or the subtle scraping of tires on pavement, might be lost.

    I actually wear earplugs in the theaters occasionally, especially during those horrible low-fidely television commercials (e.g. the annoying/screechy minivan spot with the "magic shortage")... but wearing earplugs during the movie itself has a nice side-effect... you can't hear people talking around you or munching popcorn! Even the sound of crying/squealing babies, a sad staple in many violent R-rated movies, are deadened by earplugs, yet the movie's necessary sound information makes it to my brain.

    My ears begin to hurt below the -45db range. For night viewing I'm anywhere from -50 to -85. Maybe that means my hearing's still good!

    All right, I AM crazy!

    Steve
     
  4. Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm

    Andrew 'Ange Hamm' Hamm Supporting Actor

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    The heck with VE; reference level is way too loud for me.
     
  5. Peter Overduin

    Peter Overduin Supporting Actor

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    I don't care; I can always come here and READ about it! As I recall, Beethoven couldn't hear his stuff either, and it was never half as loud as mine is[​IMG]
     
  6. Butch C

    Butch C Second Unit

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    If you have to wear earplugs you might as well lower the volume
     
  7. Jeff

    Jeff Supporting Actor

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    Calibrating your speakers at reference level is just that, a reference. Just because you calibrate them at 75db doesn't mean you have to play your DVD's at that level.

    Jeff
     
  8. Douglas Bailey

    Douglas Bailey Second Unit

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    Room size is also a factor here: I tried watching Fight Club at reference level in the small front room of my previous apartment and very quickly had to scramble for the remote to turn it down.
    In my current house, with a larger HT room, reference level on Fight Club is survivable but still a bit overloud for the room. In general, I start movies off at about -20dB and work up or down from there to find a comfortably loud level for the specific track.
    doug
     
  9. David Dennison

    David Dennison Second Unit

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    Is reference level 0 on the receiver volume? I find I listen to most movies around -35db give or take a little. I don't know why I settled on this volume because it is still quite loud for some movies and not enough for others.
     
  10. Joe Schwartz

    Joe Schwartz Second Unit

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    Why the obsession with playing movies at reference level? Why not just play them at a comfortable volume?
     
  11. Douglas Bailey

    Douglas Bailey Second Unit

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    David: reference level should indeed be 0dB on the amp.

    Joe: the reason some people want to play soundtracks at reference level is that that's the level at which they're mixed (theoretically), so that's also the level at which they ought to sound most correct. Reducing that level introduces some changes: the ear is less sensitive to bass frequencies, for example, so the same track at a lower volume will be perceived as more bass-shy.

    This is fine for those seeking true audio perfection. Me, I agree with you that a comfortable level is more important: I'm usually happy to listen at -20dB and raise my subwoofer level a bit to compensate. :)

    doug
     
  12. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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  13. Jamie E

    Jamie E Stunt Coordinator

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  15. Scott Page

    Scott Page Stunt Coordinator

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    OSHA levels are for continuous sounds. Your ears can take short-term bursts (like movies have)of quite loud sounds without damage. Reference level should have have any perminent effects unless you listen to the opening battle of Gladiator over and over for 8 hours at a time.

    That being said, reference level using VE or AVIA is too loud for me and occasionally causes some pain. If it hurts, don't do it. I use my recievers internal tones to calibrate to reference and it results in approximatly a 5 to 7 db reduction over VE or AVIA which is just perfect for me. Rarily too loud or too quiet. Like the baby bear said, "This one is just right".
     
  16. Ike

    Ike Screenwriter

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    I don't even think my receiver goes to 0. I usually keep it at -25 DB to -35 DB.
     
  17. Bill Catherall

    Bill Catherall Screenwriter

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    A 0dB readout on a receiver/amp is not always reference level. When I'm using Video Essential's test tones and my Radio Shack SPL meter is reading 75dB (reference level) in the sweet spot, my reciever reads -20dB. Probably because my sweet spot is only about 10 feet from my front speakers. I usually set the volume to somewhere between -30 and -35dB. If I listened at reference levels then my wife would kill me. [​IMG]
     
  18. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Use common sense, and preserve your hearing because when it's gone, it's gone!

    If your ears ring after the movie, you were listening at a volume that's too loud. If they still ring the next day, you could have become afflicted with tinnitis.

    Value your hearing, and forget about all that youthful boastfulness of listening at reference levels. Just because you can doesn't mean you have to.
     
  19. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    What Mr. Sun said, with a vengeance.

    I used to review bands for several area music and alternative publications. Because I needed to see what the musicians were doing (i.e., chord changes, technique, etc.), I often stood way too close to the stage, sometimes in front of the monitors.

    Man, did my hearing ever take a pounding. I've even felt physically ill after some shows. And the ringing in my ears would last a day or two.

    Definitely not good.

    As our 9,000+-post friend says, protect and value your hearing. Once gone, it's gone for good.
     
  20. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    65db is my reference level for the small bedroom I'm in. Plenty of thumping and rattling at that level
     

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