Do you hear music at high volumes? Do you frequently attend discotheques, pubs etc? You are at an increased risk of developing hearing loss. Long hours of exposure to high levels of sound can impair the sensory cells in the ears. Some measures help you in preventing hearing loss. What are they? Read on…
Globally, 360 million people suffer from disabling hearing loss. World health organisation predicts 1.1 billion teenagers are at the risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices. In this age almost everyone wants to listen to loud music for long hours. Generally people get exposed to loud sounds in nightclubs, pubs, discotheques, bars etc.
Hearing loud music once in a while for short time is fine, but regular participation can cause irreversible damage to the ears.
Smartphones is another device that causes damage. People plug in the headphones and listen to songs on loud volumes for long hours. Generally this is a personal hobby for people travelling long distances.
What happens in the ears?
Exposure to loud sounds makes the ear’s sensory cells tired. When the sensory cells become tired, people will experience a ringing sound in their ears. This is called tinnitus. They can experience temporary hearing loss. When people get exposed to loud sounds for prolonged periods of time, they can develop permanent hearing loss.
Noise-induced hearing loss
Some people develop noise-induced hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss occurs when people are exposed to sound levels over certain thresholds. It can be caused due to gun shots, loud concerts, occupational noises etc. People are more likely to suffer from noise-induced hearing loss when they have genetic predisposition, diabetes etc.
Effects of noise-induced hearing loss
Noise-induced hearing loss can impact the educational and social life of a person. It can lead to psychological stress and anxiety. Children exposed to higher sound levels are more likely to suffer from problems in areas of reading ability, comprehension, short and long term memory etc.
Noise exposure in youth leads to hearing loss in their old age. It can also lead to communication problems.
What is safe listening?
85 decibels of sound for a maximum of 8 hours is considered as the highest safe exposure level. As the sound levels increase, the hearing time should decrease. If a person is exposed to 100 decibels, he should listen to it only for 15 minutes. Exposure to 100 decibels for more than 15 minutes can cause damage to the ears.
How can you practice safe listening?
A person should follow the below practices to prevent hearing loss:
- If you frequently attend discotheques, bars etc, you should wear earplugs. Earplugs can reduce the exposure to sound by 5 to 45 dB.
- Use noise cancelling earphones or headphones. They cut down the background noise, so that the user will be able to hear the music clearly at low volumes.
- Keep the volume on devices to less than 60% of the maximum volume.
- At noisy venue, stay far from loudspeakers.
High volumes of music can lead to permanent hearing loss. For more information, consult an ENT specialist online at eVaidya now!
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