Loud discotheque music is a threat to the hearing ability. It is quite common for visitors to a discotheque to experience ringing sounds in the ears or other hearing problems after having spent a long night at the disco.
As a matter of fact, as many as 82 per cent of people who have visited a noisy discotheque experience threshold shifts and find that their hearing ability has deteriorated. And 76 per cent of those going to less noisy discotheques also experience similar symptoms.
A new study published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health conducted research into the effects of discotheque noise on the hearing ability of young people with normal hearing ability. The study included visits to two different discotheques with average sound levels of 108 dB(A) and 101 dB(A).
In the group that visited the noisier discotheque 64 per cent experienced some kind of tinnitus, while 32 per cent of those going to a less noisy place suffered from tinnitus afterwards. The researchers also found that those who found that the music was too loud were more likely to complain about tinnitus. In the less noisy discotheque, 40 per cent of those who found that the music was too loud experienced tinnitus. But only about 30 per cent those who enjoyed the music had tinnitus. This indicates that the person's attitude towards the volume of the music may effect the hearing. On the other hand the study showed no connection between the prevalence of threshold shifts and the perception of the loudness of the music.
This study does not deal with long-term effects. All the people who complained about some kind of hearing problem recovered after about two days. However, research indicates that persistent loud music can seriously affect a person's hearing ability but sometimes the damage is not felt until years later.
The study included 48 young people aged 19 to 31. Most of the participants stayed at the discotheque for about 4 hours. 38 of the young people had visited a discotheque within the last month.
This article uses facts from "A study on the effects of discotheque noise on the hearing of young patrons" published in Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health, 2000, volume 12.
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