The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that acquired hearing loss may be due to excessive noise, including occupational noise such as that from machinery and explosions and recreational exposure to loud sounds such as that from use of personal audio devices at high volumes and for prolonged periods of time and regular attendance at concerts, nightclubs, bars and sporting events . In 2015, WHO warned that 1.1 billion young people (or about 50%) were at risk of hearing loss due to personal listening devices and music venues in which sounds may reach dangerously loud levels for hours on end . Initial studies among children show that the use of portable music player was associated with high-frequency hearing loss.
What affects hearing have something to do with the inner ear. In it is a complicated structure called cochlea which converts sound into electrical signals that are picked up by neurotransmitters mainly to the brain which also converts this into images or information. There are also fine hairs called cilia that are sensitive to different sounds and it is incredibly sensitive to the amplitude of sound waves. Noise can damage hair cells, membranes, nerves, or other parts of the inner ear, all of which may cause temporary or permanent hearing loss but loss of even about 30% of the cilia may produce damage resulting to inner ear baldness that cannot be repaired .
In physics, sound is nothing but a vibration that travels as waves through a medium (air, for example), measurable in terms of amplitude, wavelength, and frequency. This frequency is also called pitch. The amplitude measures the intensity of the sound. Sounds with high amplitude is loud. Other qualities of sound are volume and tone. Very loud noise and frequent exposure to it is responsible for noise-induced hearing loss. Whatever the sound heard, however, is nothing but a perception of it by the one listening to it. What is noise to one, may be music to another. Then there is noise music.
Damage to the cochlea may only be one problem associated with people’s music habits. Since noise and music are differentiated at the perception level of the brain, how people may appreciate and tolerate noise and music may also be affected. Musical Ear Syndrome (MES), a term first coined in 2004 by Neil G. Bauman, Ph.D. refers to a condition in which those with hearing loss experience musical auditory hallucinations .
Hence, it is vital to protect your hearing. For those with hearing loss, it may need a hearing aid to cope with it. Make sure to get a hearing aid prescription before purchasing a hearing aid. For more details of our hearing test & assessment, and hearing aid services, please contact HK Hearing & Speech Centre.
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