Murray Grossan, MD, ear, nose and throat specialist, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles. GrossanInstitute.com
Q. I’m concerned that the very loud music blasted in restaurants will cause hearing loss. I complain, but waiters ignore me. What can I do?
A. You are right to be concerned about noise levels in restaurants and other public places. Repeated exposure to high levels of noise can damage the sensitive cells in the inner ear that convert sounds into signals that travel to the brain. Once these cells are damaged, they cannot be restored.
How can you tell if the restaurant music is so loud it is potentially damaging? Download a free sound meter app on your smartphone to measure sound levels—try Too Loud? for your iPhone or deciBel for an Android.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health advises a limit of 85 decibels (dB). If the music is louder than that, be sure to tell the manager that the restaurant is violating national safety recommendations.