On the face of it, this sounds like an easy one to answer. Medical studies over many years have continuously told us that indeed loud music CAN cause hearing loss.
If so, then why is this fact almost universally ignored?
Loud music and noises are generally associated with teenagers and young adults. Whether it is blaring music in their bedrooms or through an iPod or phone with headphones in, even though everyone else can still hear their music a half a block away.
Damage to our hearing can be done at any stage in life. Young children left in front of a blaring television for prolonged periods can suffer damage.
Adults using earphones to listen to loud music during rigorous exercise can also do damage. In fact, they can do more damage than a teenager doing the same thing.
As we get older, our hearing cells, just like the rest of our bodies, begin to degenerate. Exposure to loud music later in life is more likely to cause hearing damage because the hearing cells in someone in their 40’s won’t be as robust as they would be in a teenager.
So, FACT, Constant exposure to loud music CAN lead to hearing loss.
The question then becomes how do we combat this?
By the time someone becomes a teenager, it is almost impossible to get them to listen to matters of health. Teenagers are pretty much a species all on their own. During my teen years, I had a hearing problem. I already had two operations on my ears by the time I was 15.
Did I listen to the advice of the doctors? Not a chance. I blared my music as loudly as I could and to hell with the consequences. Like all my friends I thought we were indestructible and adults were only trying to suck the fun out of everything.
Simply telling people not to do something DOES NOT WORK.
With an estimated 360 million people worldwide suffering some form of hearing loss, we really should be paying more attention to prevention.
We need to put hearing care up on the same level as lifestyle issues such as good diet and exercise etc… These areas were barely spoken about 20 years ago. Now, due to the obesity epidemic in the western world, in particular, we encourage children from a very early age, to eat a balanced diet and also the importance of regular exercise.
We need to be speaking to children and parents from early school age about the importance of hearing health. No one wants to stop people listening to music or having fun. We just need to get the message across that looking after your hearing in the short term will benefit you in the long term
Think of it like this. They say it is never too late in life to begin to exercise or to eat properly. Once your hearing is gone, it’s gone.
Thank you for taking the time to read this piece. I hope that, at least, it has given you something to think about.
As usual, I would be delighted if you left a comment or if you wanted to get in touch in relation to anything to do with hearing health. As always, I will reply as soon as possible.