Remember when you mother would say, “Turn that music down or you’ll go deaf!?” That statement is much more accurate than you wanted to believe at the time. Everybody’s hearing diminishes over time, but there are some things that can be done to minimise the severity and prolong your good hearing. This article discusses the main ways that this can be done.
The Effect of Loud Music
If you have been to a concert that seemed particularly loud, you might have experienced a ringing in your ears similar to the noise that someone with tinnitus would hear all the time. That is a warning signal that should not be ignored in view of the fact that a large proportion of us seem to spend a great deal of time wearing headphones or listening to a loud car stereo or high volume surround sound TV speakers. Despite the obvious enjoyment created by this experience at the time, it is also a significant contributing factor towards creating a generation with hearing problems, and unfortunately a higher than acceptable number of us will ultimately be affected unless we start paying more attention and value to our hearing.
This is sometimes referred to as a loss of intimacy due to the fact that as hearing acuity declines our ability to pick out a voice over a background noise is one of the first red flags that something is wrong.
The Price of Suffering from Hearing Loss
Someone with a hearing impairment will often sit quietly, nodding politely, but effectively excluded from a conversation because they don’t want to ask someone to continually repeat what they were unable to hear the first time around. A poignant aspect of hearing loss is that it so often affects people who have a particular passion and love of music. It is certainly ironic and even perhaps a little sad that the price for spending so many hours listening to your favourite music, often with headphones on that are accentuating the problem, is the potential subsequent loss of hearing as a direct result of this leisure pursuit.
Age is Not the Defining Issue
It should be remembered that young people can be just as susceptible to hearing damage. The first instance when hearing damage occurs is when we lose the ability to hear higher frequencies which fundamentally changes our perception of frequencies and then creates harmonic distortion. Put in basic language, the result of this damage is that your favourite song is unlikely to ever sound as good as it did before.
Always Respect Your Hearing Ability
A good analogy to describe hearing loss would be to imagine a field of lush grass which if you walk on it will compress the grass but it will spring back up again in a short while. If you keep trampling over it you will eventually damage the grass beyond repair. That is what you are doing to the hairs that catch the vibration and interpret them as sound. Too much loud noise will cause irreparable damage to your hearing so it is best to respect your ability to hear and consider reducing your exposure to noise stress.
Quick Guide to Preventing Hearing Loss
If you remember that each loud sound is contributing to reduced hearing later on in your life, look after your ears and limit your exposure to loud sound. Get your hearing checked regularly so that any loss of performance is quickly identified and if you must listen to your music on a frequent basis, consider using noise cancelling headphones, they may be expensive but they will improve the sound quality of the music and reduce potential hearing loss as you will be able to listen at a lower volume level.
The bottom line is if you spend your ears wisely and you will get many more years of enjoyment out of them than if you choose to ignore the obvious warning signs.
Post written by Liz, on behalf of National Hearing Care.
Category: Hearing Loss