Picture it: after a long day at work followed by what felt like an even longer stint in traffic, you get off I-84 at Ten Mile with your favorite station on blast only to encounter more traffic.

It sucks, but you're making the best of it with your jams. That's when you get pulled over. Confused, you're almost positive Meridian Police are about to tell you your gas cap or passenger door is open. But they don't. You've been pulled over for playing your music too loud in a residential area.

The officer uses a decibel meter to determine how loudly you were bumpin' your tunes, and clocks it at 92 decibels. Because Idaho code 67-7125 limits car speakers to 96db (that can lead to a fine of up to $1,000), you're let go with a verbal warning to not let loud music distract you behind the wheel.

One quick Google search later, you realize blasting your music doesn't just wreak havoc on your hearing, it can also lead to several serious consequences on the road.

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According to a study published in the National Library of Medicine, the risk of noise-induced hearing loss at 90db and above "becomes material, with the majority of individuals accruing significant hearing impairment."

The World Health Organization adds that listening to sounds above 90db for longer periods of time heightens hearing deficits. However, if it's something you can't escape (think occupational hazards), WHO recommends capping exposure to four hours a week. If that's unavoidable, Decibel Pro recommends keeping as much distance as possible between you and the sound's origin.

A noise’s decibel level drops by 6 dB each time the distance from the source doubles. The closer you are, the louder you will perceive the sound and, in many cases, moving away from the sound source is the easiest way to protect your hearing. Because the decibel scale is logarithmic, every 10 decibels you add multiplies the intensity of the sound 10 times. This means that 95 decibels is 10 times louder than 85 decibels and 100 times louder than a 75 decibel sound.



When it comes to driving, it's all about finding that sweet spot between enjoying your jams and doing what's necessary to stay safe. If you struggle to find that belance, a best practice is to keep the volume just low enough to hear important sounds around you.

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