And before someone complains about having to accommodate those sensitive to noise, consider who may be at risk. As KSBY.com reports, “[t]he signs are intended for veterans with PTSD, people with autism, owners of pets, and others with noise sensitivity.”
Dr. Daniel Fink, a leading noise pollution activist, writes about why the IOM Report Should Consider Prevention of Hearing Loss and not just treatment after injury.
Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted content on its website addressing Environmental Noise Exposure and Health. This content looks at a number of issues, including what is hearing loss, sources of environmental noise, and the public health burden from noise and hearing loss.
Under a section titled “Recommendations and Guidelines,” the CDC discusses noise exposure limits. The CDC notes that the Environmental Protection Agency identified 70 dB as the average exposure limit to environmental noise for the general public, as did the World Health Organization (WHO), which “recommend[ed] that noise exposure levels should not exceed 70 dB over a 24-hour period, and 85 dB over 1 hour period to avoid hearing impairment.” Occupational noise exposure limits established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for an 8-hour workday are also mentioned.
Kudos to the CDC for posting this material on their site and giving noise exposure the attention it deserves. Noise-induced hearing loss and other injuries are mostly preventable, and the failure to educate the public on appropriate exposure limits is significant. As the CDC states, the “National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) found that in 2014, an estimated 21.0% of adults aged ≥18 years had difficulty following a conversation amid background noise, 11.2% had ringing in the ears [ed. note: tinnitus], and 5.9% had sensitivity to everyday sounds [ed. note: hyperacusis].” In short, noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus, and hyperacusis affect more than a third of the population of the United States. Given the CDC’s mission to control and prevent disease and injury, one hopes this is the first of many steps taken to educate the public, advise federal, state, and local governments, and rein in a preventable health epidemic.
The author of the linked piece was disturbed by a tweet from “a well known rock magazine, Kerrang,” and responded, as follows:
Kerrang! Magazine did not respond to Restored Hearing’s tweet, but people in the hearing community did, which led to an interesting and thoughtful discussion about why hearing injuries are treated so dismissively when no one (presumably) would be openly snarky about injuries to sight. After all, there is no effective cure or treatment for most hearing injuries, the consequences of which are more significant than having to ask someone to speak up. Rather, hearing injuries can dramatically affect one’s quality of life. As Bryan Pollard, president of Hyperacusis Research Limited, Inc., stated:
‘Hyperacusis,’ the evil spawn of tinnitus, is a word you do not want in your vocabulary or your medical history. It means that noise = pain. All it takes is one loud night out to spark a lifetime of regret.
In the end, the reason for the flippancy is a lack of education. How many people even heard of hyperacusis or tinnitus or know what they are until and unless they or someone they know is diagnosed? That most hyperacusis and tinnitus is noise induced, thus preventable, means we need to confront the Kerrangs of the world and explain to them that today’s snarky tweet may lead to tomorrow’s lingering regret.
Thanks to Bryan Pollard for the link. Bryan is the founder and president of Hyperacusis Research Limited, a non-profit charity dedicated to funding research on what causes hyperacusis with the goal of developing effective treatments.
May 18, 2016 Everyday noise, Health and Noise, Hearing loss, Hearing protection, Hell is other people, Hyperacusis, Noise Pollution, Peace and Quiet, Public health, Quality of Life, Tinnitus 0 Read more >
Not convinced? Then why is hearing loss more prevalent in certain occupations? Healthy Hearing provides a list of the most dangerous occupations to hearing health: Top five occupations causing hearing loss.
As Healthy Hearing points out, “[n]o matter what the source, however, even these occupations that come with a high risk of noise related hearing loss can be made safer with proper precautions.” It is unconscionable that industry and government are aware that these occupations are causing life altering hearing loss and neither is doing enough to stop it.
Check here for upcoming screenings: In Pursuit of Silence
David Sikorski, senior editor at Earmilk, an online music publication, has written a must read piece for anyone who loves to listen to live music: Tinnitus, Suicides & Earplugs: Don’t be an idiot. Sikorski states that as senior editor he has “issued a full mandatory requirement for any of our writers to wear earplugs when attending/reviewing any concert or festival on our behalf.” Why? Here’s his answer:
Over 700 million people around the world suffer from some form of Tinnitus or ringing in the ears. This recent flood of self-induced hearing damage from oversized studio headphones, grandiose speaker systems and silly notions carried over from ill-advised past generations – equating decibel levels to enjoyment – have created a music industry epidemic.
When it happens, it just happens. You’ll leave the vibrating walls of the after hours spot, that divey “rock n’ roll night club” or even after maxing the sub in your car to peep Slime Season 3. Suddenly, the ringing in your ear, that used to be temporary isn’t.
And yes, though rare, for some people plagued with tinnitus the “ringing in their ears becomes [so] unbearable, that death becomes the only relief.”
So how do you balance your love of live music with the need to protect your hearing? Sikorski suggests earplugs. We would add that musicians and music venues need to consider what they can do to stop the permanent damage they are inflicting on fans.
Thanks to Hyperacusis Research Limited for the link. Hyperacusis Research Limited is a non-profit charity dedicated to funding research on what causes hyperacusis with the goal of developing effective treatment.
Do you go out to clubs or concerts? Then this information is for you: How loud is loud?
Plug ’em is a British Tinnitus Association campaign that “aims to encourage wearing earplugs at gigs, festivals, clubs – basically anywhere you’re exposed to potentially dangerous noise levels.” They simply want to save millions of people from the pain and frustration of tinnitus and other hearing injuries. How? By educating the public about the dangers of loud noise, removing the stigma about wearing ear plugs, and encouraging bars and other venues playing loud music to give patrons free ear plugs.
No one is telling you not to go out to enjoy live music. Protect your ears so you can enjoy live music your entire life.
THE FILMMAKERS RECOMMEND YOU WEAR HEADPHONES TO VIEW THIS TRAILER:
Philly Voice reporter Brandon Baker posed this question Linda Ronis-Kass, an audiologist at Penn Medicine Washington Square, “for an explanation of how listening to music at a high volume through earbuds can cause hearing loss — and potentially more.” It’s an interesting read, particularly for those of you who like to pop in your earbuds and crank the volume up (don’t!!).
Thanks to Hearing Health Foundation for the link.