02 January 2013

Noise surrounds us and damages our hearing

In nearly all areas of modern life, we are surrounded by noise. We are exposed to noise at work, noise in the street from traffic and when we listen to music or go to night clubs or concerts where the volume is too loud.

The human ear is delicate and complex and is easily damaged. The more you expose yourself to or are exposed to noise and other loud sounds, the more likely you are to damage your hearing, as there is a connection between excessive noise and hearing loss.

Noise damages your well-being

Surveys show that noise is the main reason for poor hearing among adults and exposure to noise most of the day may result in hearing loss and tinnitus. Daily exposure to excessive noise in the workplace is the primary factor in many cases of hearing loss in the working population.

Loud music from mp3 players

Listening to music at a high volume on an mp3 player can mean putting your hearing at risk, and your hearing can deteriorate over time. A British study reveals that eight out of ten have not considered that they can damage their hearing or get tinnitus from turning their music up too loud.

EU regulations say that all mp3 players must have a default maximum setting of 85dB, but the sound levels in mp3 players can usually reach volumes in excess of 100dB.

Noisy concerts

Concerts can be a challenge for your ears. A study that tested teens' hearing before and after a concert showed that 72% of teenagers, who participated in the study, experienced reduced hearing ability following exposure to the concert.

53.6% of the teens said that they thought their hearing had been affected negatively and 25% reported that they experienced tinnitus or ringing in their ears. The teenagers were offered hearing protection, but only a few used them.

Noise-induced hearing loss in soldiers

Soldiers can also be affected by hearing loss. Studies show that more than 12% of all American soldiers returning from conflicts around the globe experience noise-induced hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss does not just impact a person's ability to hear, but it can also lead to balance issues, make it difficult to sleep and communicate, and even raise the risk for heart disease by increasing a person's blood pressure, lipids and blood sugar.

Paul Gilbert: How to avoid hearing loss

It is well-known that loud music can damage your hearing. Veteran guitarist Paul Gilbert gives advice to musicians and music lovers so they can avoid the kind of hearing impairment he himself suffers from. He has compiled a list of things he would advise other musicians and music lovers to do if they want to retain their hearing and avoid tinnitus.

Paul Gilbert has practiced his guitar-playing for hours on end, but not taken the proper precautions to protect his hearing. As a result, he has difficulty hearing high frequencies, he has constant tinnitus and he has difficulty hearing and understanding what people are saying.

Daily noise exposure

The daily exposure to noise is directly related to the risk of hearing damage. Many countries recommend a daily exposure to noise of less than 85dB. Noise exposure is measured in such a way that 85dB represents twice the exposure of 82dB.

The measure of the daily exposure to noise is a combination of the noise level and the length of time you are exposed to a particular noise.


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