Monday, December 14, 2009

Drowning Out Noise With More Noise...?

Well, what CAN you expect when you stuff a mini-speaker deep into your ear???Up to 10-million people in Europe face permanent hearing loss from prolonged listening to loud music. The European Commission wants to limit all MP3 players and iPods, to 85 decibels. Some personal players currently reach 120dB - the equivalent of a jet taking off, right in your ear!
Specialists are seeing more and more young people with tinnitus or hearing loss, due to excessive exposure to loud music: permanent damage that in the past would've come from industrial noise.
Manufacturers feel an 85dB limit would "not be fair" because traffic noise, engines etc would obliterate the music. They forget that, if 85-120dB is being drowned out by other sounds, industrial-quality sound suppression earmuffs are needed... NOT a higher music volume to get on top of the environmental noise!
(However the NZ Medical Journal states that sustained exposure to sound above 85dB degenerates the inner ear's hair cells and nerve fibres, and causes permanent hearing loss.)
Kids have always listened to their music loud (yes, we did TOO!) and this suggested limitation won't stop them. Education will only bring them to a point of personal responsibility and personal choice. Sadly though, by the time they're old enough to recognise THEY have caused their hearing loss, their own children will already be suffering early damage...and so the cycle continues.

No comments: