Loud Movies Could Be Damaging To Your Hearing

If you've been to the theaters lately, you have likely noticed how loud the explosions, gunshots, and other noises can be. As it turns out, frequent moviegoers may be subjecting themselves to permanent hearing damage.

According to the American Hearing Research Foundation, loud movies are "a source of premature hearing reduction."

Kit Frank, AuD, an audiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center, explained that a sound level of 85 decibels "is where you want to stay below." He continued by saying, "you start to hit into the range where you could potentially cause some damage" to your hearing.

In order to determine how loud some of the movies currently in theaters might get, a TODAY show correspondent sat through several films with a sound level meter.

In Mark Wahlberg's action-packed drama Deepwater Horizon, the sound levels roared up to 101 and peaked at 104.9 decibels with all of the explosions and massive destruction. This is particularly concerning news for moviegoers, according to Kit Frank.

"If you're reaching over 100 for even minutes at a time, seconds at a time, you could be into that range where you could get immediate permanent damage," Frank said.

Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington's western flick, The Magnificent Seven, quickly boomed to 93.7 decibels and reached upwards of 97.2 decibels with all of the gunfights and other action sequences, according to TODAY.

Storks, an animated film for children, was under the safe sound levels of 85 decibels for most of the movie. However, the noise level did peak at 99.3 db.

"If you leave the movie theater and your ears are ringing that's a sign that you could potentially have some damage from the loud noise," said Kit Frank.

For those of you who haven't been able to get to a movie theater lately, here's a few points of reference for how loud movies can get:

A normal conversation is typically around 60 db.

A lawnmower, or truck traffic is in the neighborhood of 90db.

Chainsaws come in at about 100 db, and a loud rock concert or an auto horn would likely reach up towards 115 db.

Many of the movies in theaters these days can be louder than a chainsaw, pneumatic drill, or a snowmobile! The maximum exposure without protection at this sound level is two hours.

To learn more, head over to the American Hearing Research Foundation here.


Do you feel like you have experienced hearing loss from the movie theaters being too loud?