by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
This paper in BMC Public Health reports that sound levels from portable listening devices (also called personal music players) are loud enough to damage hearing.
It’s long past time for regulators to take steps to protect the hearing of our young people, who are the predominant users of these devices. What are they waiting for?
I have predicted an epidemic of noise-induced hearing loss in young people for three years, since I became a noise activist and learned how damaging noise is for hearing.
So far there are only anecdotal reports of more cases of hearing loss and tinnitus in younger people in their teens, twenties, and thirties, but when the epidemiology reports come out, I will say, “I told you so.”
But that will give scant satisfaction, because it will be too late for those with hearing loss. The damage will have been done, and there is no cure. There is only one certain way to avoid noise-induced hearing loss: avoid loud sound. Always.
Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He serves on the board of the American Tinnitus Association, is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’s Health Advisory Council, and is the founding chair of The Quiet Coalition, an organization of science, health, and legal professionals concerned about the impacts of noise on health, environment, learning, productivity, and quality of life in America.