“I can’t hear you.” “What did you say?” “Could you repeat that?”
If someone seems to have difficulty making out words in normal conversation, it’s likely they have suffered a hearing loss. If they’re loud music lovers, it’s quite possible their passion is responsible for the loss. When parents plead with their teens to “turn down the music or you’ll go deaf,” they’re not just sounding a sour note. There appears to be little question that loud music can diminish the ability to hear.
Many studies have found a link between loud music and hearing loss. The latest comes from Europe, where scientists studied the effects of personal music players on hearing. Researchers found people who used earphones with c-d players or MP3’s ran the risk of suffering serious damage to their hearing. Scientists concluded the hearing loss could be permanent for people who pumped up the volume for more than an hour a day after five years.
Of course, not all hearing loss is permanent. Loud music can lead to a temporary hearing problem. One may develop tinnitus, a ringing in the ears. As time passes, the ringing usually goes away and hearing returns to normal. However, repeated exposure to loud music over 100 decibels can make the loss permanent.
Does this mean lovers of loud music should stop listening? Not necessarily. It does mean, however, that precautions should be taken. To avoid hearing loss, take breaks from the music every hour for at least ten minutes; wear earplugs to concerts and clubs; go a day or two at regular intervals without the loud music. A little common sense will reduce the chances of hearing loss and help insure the enjoyment of music for an entire lifetime.