Yes, permanently. Dr. Sharon Sandridge of the Cleveland Clinic notes that one exposure is all it takes to permanently damage your hearing. She states that, “if you go to a concert, and you say, ‘I’m going to just tough it out,’ and you walk out and your ears are ringing and everything is dull, you’ve done permanent damage at that point.” Permanent damage for which there is no cure and for which the only treatment is a hearing aid. Do yourself a favor and use ear plugs whenever and wherever you are around loud noise.
We would rather not. And Nigel Rodgers, a Brit with a mission, agrees. Which is why Rodgers has formed Pipedown, an organization that attempts to persuade retailers, airports, and other businesses to stop playing piped music in their public spaces. Read about Nigel’s campaign in Pipedown. Please.
Link via Quiet Edinburgh.
Does this mean Jersey City is going to be an urban hellhole, plagued by eardrum blasting noise 24/7? No. The new law, a model ordinance already blessed by the state, lifts the ban on boom boxes, which may have been unenforceable, and, instead, requires anyone playing music outside to make sure that the music “is not “plainly audible” from a distance of 50 feet during the day (25 feet after 10 p.m.).” The article does not give us the definition of “plainly audible,” nor explain how it will be determined.
An earlier article highlights other changes under the revised ordinance, which includes a ban on the use of power tools on a residential property before 8:00 a.m., a requirement that snow blowers have mufflers or sound reduction devices, and a ban on animals “howling, yelping, barking, squawking, etc.” for more than five minutes without interruption. But an earlier version of the revised ordinance which would have changed the time that permitted construction could start on weekdays to 8:00 a.m. was punted and the existing 7:00 a.m. start time was retained. And the revised ordinance has some teeth, as it allows a certified noise-control officer the authority to issue fines of up to $1,000 for violations.
Whether the revised ordinance satisfies all constituents remains to be seen. Kudos to the Jersey City city council for recognizing the detrimental impact of noise and for attempting to limit its effect on residents and visitors.
According to the Asbury Park Press, Asbury Park’s sound mitigation report requirement for businesses that play live or recorded music may have been well intended but may miss the mark: Noise issues impact downtown Asbury Park nightlife.
The town’s approach will need tweaking, but at least Asbury Park realizes that a balance has to be met:
“We need something to manage the sound levels, but not something as severe as this current ordinance. A municipality has to protect a balance between different kinds of entertainment experiences, whether you want a quiet bar or dining experience, are at the movies or at a gallery, or want to enjoy live music or a louder bar atmosphere,” said Michele Alonso, director of planning and redevelopment, in a statement. “Unchecked noise in the downtown — whether music or general crowd noise — affects other businesses as well as residents.”
In the end, that balance has to recognize that one man’s music is another man’s noise.
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.
You are not alone: Diners want noise off the menu.
NOTE: The statement in the article that “[t]he Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends less than eight hours of sustained exposure to noise louder than 85 decibels,” is wrong in its implied scope. In February 2016, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) posted an article on its Science Blog that stated that the 85 dBA noise exposure limit was intended only as a limit for occupational noise exposure and not as a safe noise exposure limit for the public at large. See, NIOSH Science Blog clarifies difference between occupational and general noise exposure limits. According to Daniel Fink, M.D., a leading noise activist, the only evidence-based safe noise exposure level for the public was calculated by the Environmental Protection Agency to be 70 dB (unweighted) average noise exposure for a 24 hour period. See, Information on Levels of Environmental Noise Requisite to Protect Public Health and Welfare with an Adequate Margin of Safety.
The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) has posted an important article on hearing loss and young people: Millennials, the Deaf Generation? The article states that a major cause of hearing injury to young people are music players, noting that the WHO “found that almost half of those ages 12 to 35 listen to their music players at unsafe volumes, while around 40 percent expose themselves to very loud events such as concerts.” Among other things, the article suggests that using over the ear headphones over earbuds could help reduce the risk, especially when coupled with keeping the player’s volume at 60% of its range and listening to music for no more than 60 minutes at a time.
The concern about hearing loss in young people is also addressed by Shari Eberts, a hearing health advocate in her piece, “A Silent Epidemic. Teen and Young Adult Hearing Loss.” Ms. Eberts writes that “[a] research study published in The Journal of American Medical Association in 2010 found that 1 in 5 teens had some type of hearing loss. This was significantly above the 1 in 7 teens with hearing loss measured 10 years earlier.” She agrees that the use of earbuds is a significant cause for the alarming increase in hearing loss, but she adds that “the increased volume levels at restaurants, bars, sporting events, and other venues are also likely to blame.” As someone who has genetic hearing loss Ms. Eberts knows firsthand about the frustration and sadness young people with hearing loss will suffer, noting that such suffering is avoidable since noise induced hearing loss is 100% preventable. As in the ASCH article, Ms. Ebert recommends steps people can take to avoid hearing injury in the first instance.
This silent epidemic of hearing loss is not going to be silent for much longer. One hopes that the increased attention on hearing loss among the young will motivate government, business, and individuals to work together to prevent the unnecessary deafening of an entire generation.
In “A Point of View: Why it’s time to turn the music off,” philospher Roger Scruton writes about pop music’s unrelenting assault on our ears in almost every public place today. Scruton’s concern is focused on the smothering effect banal pop music has on young people and our musical tradition, but it is his indictment on background music in public spaces that sings to those of us who crave some silence:
Whole areas of civic space in our society are now policed by this sound, which drives anybody with the slightest feeling for music to distraction, and ensures that for many of us a visit to the pub or a meal in a restaurant have lost their residual meaning. These are no longer social events, but experiments in endurance, as you shout at each other over the deadly noise.
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And there is no law against it. You are rightly prevented from polluting the air of a restaurant with smoke; but nothing prevents the owner from inflicting this far worse pollution on his customers – pollution that poisons not the body but the soul. Of course, you can ask for the music to be turned off. But you will be met by blank and even hostile stares. What kind of a weirdo is this, who wants to impose his will on everyone? Who is he to dictate the noise levels? Such is the usual response. Background music is the default position. It is no longer silence to which we return when we cease to speak, but the empty chatter of the music-box. Silence must be excluded at all cost, since it awakens you to the emptiness that looms on the edge of modern life, threatening to confront you with the dreadful truth, that you have nothing whatever to say. On the other hand, if we knew silence for what once it was, as the plastic material that is shaped by real music, then it would not frighten us at all.