Mp3 players and iPods are technological wonders that are commonly enjoyed in today’s society.
Our ears are biological wonders that should function well and be able to provide us with the ability to hear throughout our entire lifetimes.
Can we enjoy the music that technology delivers to us so easily, but protect our hearing while doing so?
Damaging your hearing is easier than most people think, according to Dr. Angela Loavenbruck, audiologist and former president of the American Academy of Audiology. Her comment is included in an article entitled: Teens Risk Deafness Playing iPods at ‘Jet Engine Volume.’
The article, carried on foxnews.com on 4/21/10, discusses ‘noise-induced hearing loss’ in regards to various factors including: some statistics relating to hearing loss; jogging with iPods; what constitutes proper headphone usage with MP3 players and iPods; the trend for listening to loud music, and custom ear buds that can be ordered from an audiologist.
Common sources of noise
Preventing hearing loss involves an understanding of loudness (decibels) combined with an awareness of length of time that your ears are exposed to noise.
Peter M. Rabinowitz, a doctor with the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, has written a comprehensive and very informative report entitled ‘Noise-Induced Hearing Loss’ that is available on the American Family Physician website.
Included with the report are many tables, one of which shows common sources of sound and the number of decibels (loudness) they produce.
Numbers of decibels are shown for a whisper (30 to 40); a quiet room (50); conversation (60); motorcycle or lawnmower (90); diesel locomotive or stereo headphones (110 to 120); rock concert or chain saw (110 to 120); jet takeoff (140), and gunshot, peak level (140 to 170).
Dr. Rabinowitz states that noise can cause permanent hearing loss at chronic exposures equal to an average sound pressure level of 85 decibels or higher for an eight-hour period. Therefore, the longer that a person is exposed to high decibel sounds, the greater the chance for permanent hearing loss.
He further states that noise-induced hearing loss, although permanent and not fully treatable, is virtually 100 percent preventable. He says that hearing protectors, including earmuffs, disposable earplugs and custom-fitted earplugs, can provide 20 to 40 decibels of attenuation when used correctly.
In his final comment, Dr. Rabinowitz reiterates that noise exposure, whether occupational or recreational, is the leading preventable cause of hearing loss. He wants people to know that by preventing noise-induced hearing loss they can reduce the impact of age-related changes on their hearing.
Additional sources of information
To learn more about noise-induced hearing loss, click here.
To see a typical audiogram comparing normal and impaired hearing, click here.
To read more about music and hearing loss, click here.
For more articles by this writer, click here.