What is it about music that some people play it so loudly it’s as if they are the only people in the room? This happens in our house quite frequently. My husband’s response: If the music is too loud, then you are too old! I do love music but not so loud that I can’t think, or it becomes distracting. When is loud too loud?
Unfortunately, it is not a case of Love Me, Love My Music – many people get annoyed when they are forced to listen to the loud music of others.
Studies on Loud Sounds/Music
I did a little research and, apparently, there are reasons for the loud music.
One study, “Why Do People Like Loud Sound? A Qualitative Study” published in August 2017, found that amongst those who participated four themes emerged – loud sounds (including music) are stimulating, encourage socializing, hide disagreeable things, and emphasize individualism.
The study was performed on 16 people (eight 18-25 years old (both male and female), six musicians (both male and female), and two bar managers (female).
In other studies, experts at John Hopkins found that listening to music can reduce stress and pain as well as improve mood, memory, and mental alertness. In other words, your brain gets a workout.
Why Loud Music?
Arousal is the physiological state of the body and senses being awoken to the point of alertness. It involves the activation of brainstem mechanisms and responses. People conditioned to hearing loud sounds (music), experience increased emotions (happy, energized), motivation (makes you want to get up and go, be active), and physical sensations (feelings of pleasure)
Loud music is sometimes associated with alcohol (or drugs such as cannabis) and having fun in social situations. Being part of a group gives a sense of belonging and sharing, removes feelings of inhibitions and encourages intimacy.
Hides disagreeable things (blocks out the world)
Loud music provides an escape to block out the world, unwanted distractions, or noise that would otherwise be an interruption. It is hard to have negative thoughts when you really can’t think about anything.
On the other hand, it can help you to stay focused on one thing in particular.
It is also considered a good way to relieve stress (endorphins are released causing a feeling of pleasure).
While someone may not readily admit this, some perceive that others might think it provides a ‘cool image’, and is associated with masculinity, in such a way as a loud car engine would.
On the Downside – How Loud is too Loud?
How many of us are guilty of telling our kids to ‘turn down the music – you’re going to go deaf! We aren’t wrong. Of course, nowadays, most kids are listening to music through earbuds or headphones, loud enough for the person next to them to hear the music as well.
Hearing loss can happen if constant exposure to sound levels exceeds 85 decibels. The recommended number is between 60 and 85. If you listen to loud music higher than this, it is recommended you limit your time to 15 minutes or less.
Loud noise or music can damage cells and membranes in the cochlea (cavity in the inner ear); this damage could be permanent.
Did you know you are born with 16,000 hair cells in the inner ear? The purpose of these hairs is to detect sounds. Hearing loss can result if 30% to 50% of these cells are damaged. Unfortunately, by the time a hearing test is performed, it is too late, the cells are destroyed (die), and cannot be repaired.
These hair cells are not the only part of the ear that can be damaged. The auditory nerve can also be damaged. This nerve carries sound information to the brain. This may not be detected in a hearing test and over time, a person might develop some hearing problems.
After doing my research, I have a better understanding of Why People Love Loud Music. In my case, I notice my husband is happier, positive, upbeat, and a more enthused person-a small price for me to pay-and, thankfully, they are not my ears!
Music has always been a big part of his life. He listens to it while working, exercising, flying in a plane, and of course, socializing. It helps to keep him from going crazy during the pandemic here in Mexico.
Does this mean I agree with his too-loud music? No, but he is an adult and responsible for his own hearing. I shall say no more!
How do you feel about loud music? Does it bother you? Let us know in the comments below.