Music and Hearing Loss
Like any other sound, music can cause hearing loss if it's loud enough
and exposure is long enough. A person can damage his hearing at a live
concert or by listening to recorded music. Here's a lot more information on
this important topic.
The latest hearing loss culprit is the iPod and similar devices. Here's
the recent coverage of iPods as a cause of hearing loss.
March 2013 - Club hostess sues club for causing hearing
August 2012 - New Earplugs Designed to
Prevent Hearing Loss in Musicians
May 2012 - Hearing Ability Reduced After Attending
April 2012 - Rock music and no protection leads to
February 2012 - House Research Institute Outlines Five
Ways Musicians can Protect their Hearing
July 2011 - The Who's Roger Daltrey Losing His Hearing
March 2011 - Phil Collins Ends Career Due to Hearing Loss
and Other Health Issues
February 2011 - Teen hearing loss study goes viral, experts
uncover the facts
December 2010 - Army band members must protect their
October 2010 - U of M Research Shows U.S. Teen
Hearing Loss Better than Reported
December 2009 - Physicians Urge Parents To Preset
Volume On Holiday Electronics
April 2009 - Making Live Music Safe
May 2008 - Classical musicians at extreme risk for
December 2007 - Law mandating noise limits meeting
November 2007 - Germany to Limit Disco Volume
August 2007 - Purdue University Audiologist
Advocates Earplugs for Musicians
July 2007 - Music lovers face hearing loss
timebomb, RNID warns
February 2007 - UNT
takes proactive steps to protect musicians from hearing loss
November 2006 - Teens Now More Concerned About
Noise and Hearing Health
October 2006 - Researchers Recommend Safe Listening
Levels for iPod
October 2006 - Creative's New ZEN MP3 Players
Set Volume Limits and Provide Safety Guidelines from Experts
June 2006 -
Now hear this: Ear `buds' are cool, but the price
may be too steep
May 2006 -
iPod Hearing Loss Protection for Boomers: Five
August 2005 - The House
Ear Institute just announced a new program to make kids aware of the
dangers of their music listening habits. Here's the
June 2004 - If you operate a jack hammer, you
might expect to be at risk for hearing loss. But have you ever
considered the hearing loss risks for music teachers?
2003 - The music volume in clubs and concerts is a serious threat to
young peoples' hearing. Here's an article from England with shocking
statistics on the hearing loss threat to young people.
January 2002 -
The sound industry is starting to take a look at their contribution to
hearing loss and what liability they might have in cases of hearing
loss. Here's a report on what's happening in that
June 2000 - Those of you who have been
"encouraging" your kids to turn their music down to avoid
harming their hearing now have corroboration from the scientific
community. Here is their account of how loud music
causes hearing loss.
More on this and related
A star-studded Midtown nightclub blasted music so
loud that it caused a VIP hostess serious hearing loss, a new lawsuit
states. Margaret Clemente claims Lavo's thunderous dance music made her
nearly deaf in one ear - rendering her unemployable - after bosses ignored
repeated complaints about the noise. "When I talk to people, it sounds like
mumbling. I really struggle to hear," Clemente told The Post. The aspiring
actress said honchos at the hot spot - which has hosted such celebrities as
Leonardo DiCaprio, Heidi Klum and Paris Hilton - pressured her to leave when
she reported the disability. She said it's now hard to find a job in the
noisy nightlife business. "I'm depressed. It's been daunting. I'm stressed
out and distraught," said Clemente, who worked at the club for two years and
earned $42 an hour plus $500 in nightly tips.
Turns out the orchestra pit and the battlefield have
something in common beyond earsplitting explosions of sound: They now share
a device that blocks percussive blasts while allowing softer sounds to
tiptoe in. "We know how to do both things," says Mead Killion, founder and
chairman of Etymotic Research Inc. "I won't say nobody else knows how to do
it, but nobody else does it." Mr. Killion's product is a cross between an
earplug and a hearing aid. The military version came first, in 2009. Called
the BlastPLG, it was designed for those who need to locate the source of
gunfire and explosions yet still protect their hearing while operating loud
machinery and traveling in noisy military vehicles. While other products
simply cancel noise, the BlastPLG isolates noise by creating a seal in the
ear canal. The civilian version owes its existence to Steve Wilson, who
plays second bassoon with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington and
who was intrigued after reading about the BlastPLG when it made its debut at
the Consumer Electronics Show.
Roger Daltrey, front man for The Who, has conceded
that like his founding band member Pete Townshend, he's losing his hearing.
That's not to mention the other health issues he's suffering from which the
rigours of touring are exacerbating. He says "I was having terrible trouble
hearing what I was singing and it did get to me. In fact, I've been
suffering for quite a few of the previous tours." . . . He's not the only
one suffering - Pete Townshend barely has any hearing left. Daltrey
confirmed "Pete [Townshend] is having terrible hearing problems at the
moment," adding "There's nobody I'd rather be on stage with than Pete. But
equally, I don't want to be on stage with him destroying the last bit of his
hearing. That would be completely foolish. He's a composer."
One of the music business' finest musicians is
calling it quits. Singer, performer, and music legend Phil Collins has
announced that he will be leaving the music scene due to his health; one of
the major reasons being that his hearing has diminished over the years.
Among other ailments, Collins' hearing loss is serious enough to impact his
ability to perform. This is a serious loss to music lovers, as well as to
the musician, himself.
What Caused Collins' Hearing Loss?
This is a great question that deserves much
attention. One of the most common causes of hearing loss as one ages is due
to chronic noise exposure. With Collins in the music industry and having
performed thousands of concerts, it is easy to see how his ears have taken a
beating over the years.
News flash: study finds large increase in the
prevalence of hearing loss among teenagers. That sort of dramatic finding
published in a well-respected medical journal will no doubt send headlines
racing around the world. In fact, that's exactly what happened last August
when the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a
study by a team of Boston researchers that found a 31% increase in hearing
loss among a recent, large national sampling of teens compared with
statistics from about 15 years earlier. The data was gathered in multi-year
periods by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).1 Known as
the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES III,
the extensive data was used by the study's authors to compare the most
current time period (2005-2006) and a previous data set gathered between
1988 and 1994.
Musician and songwriter Kathy Peck traces her
hearing loss back to 1984 when she and fellow band members of The
Contractions opened for Duran Duran at Oakland Coliseum. She describes the
loss as a transformational event in her life that propelled her into
becoming a hearing conservation advocate. In 1988 she co-founded Hearing
Education and Awareness for Rockers (HEAR) with physician Flash Gordon, MD,
formerly of the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic. Today the San
Francisco-based, nonprofit organization still provides free hearing
screenings, as it has done for the past two decades, and executive director
Peck lectures widely on hearing conservation, and provides custom hearing
molds for musicians at HEAR (www.hearnet.com) and through its Partner
Data from two nationally representative surveys
indicates that the prevalence of hearing loss among U.S. adolescents
increased by about 30 percent from 1988-1994 to 2005-2006, with 1 in 5
adolescents having hearing loss in 2005-2006, according to a study in the
August 18 issue of JAMA. Hearing loss is a common sensory disorder,
affecting tens of millions of individuals of all ages in the United States.
Adolescent hearing loss, although common, is not well understood, and can
have important educational and social implications, according to background
information in the article. Some risk factors, such as loud sound exposure
from listening to music, may be of particular importance to adolescents.
A couple who sued the heavy metal band Whitesnake
claiming that one of them suffered hearing problems after seeing the band at
Boston's Orpheum Theatre will have to be content with a $40,000 settlement,
the Appeals Court has ruled. Maryellen and Kevin Burns filed the suit
against the band, the promoter and the venue owner after attending a 2003
show during the band's "Mmmm ... Nice Package" tour, which also featured
heavy metal groups, the Scorpions and Dokken. The couple said a piece of
staging equipment blocked the view from their original seats, so theater
staff moved them to a new location closer to the stage. The new seats were
also closer to a large tower of speakers which had the potential to blast
music at a volume anywhere from 2 to 22 times what is considered "acceptable
exposure" to the human ear, a hearing loss expert said in a statement filed
with the court. The plaintiffs claimed lead singer David Coverdale even
looked at the speakers and joked "Is this safe?" before launching into his
80's hair metal hits like "Here I Go Again" and "Is This Love."
I'd say I'm an audiologist who specializes in
serving a misunderstood, underserved market where hearing is mission
critical. My primary work is to prevent hearing loss in musicians. It's an
interesting job, as I have worked with over 1000 famous musicians, and many
more not-so-famous ones. It all started back in the 1980s when a local band
here in Chicago came to me for help because the lead singer was having
hearing problems and was going to quit. I was able to help her, and she kept
performing. So basically, I saw a need, an empty space where there should be
some sort of prevention program in place, and nobody was doing anything
about it. I thought it was time somebody did.
Apple Computer Inc., the maker of the bestselling
iPod digital music player, won a federal appeals court ruling upholding
dismissal of a lawsuit claiming the device and headsets sold with it are
defective and the company doesn't adequately warn about the possibility of
hearing loss. The lawsuit, filed by an iPod customer in Louisiana and
another customer in California in 2006, had to be dismissed because they
failed to show that the devices weren't fit to be sold for the ordinary use
of listening to music, the appeals court said today. The customers alleged
that iPods can play music at 104 decibels -- a noise level equivalent to
helicopters and power mowers. While a noise warning is in user manuals,
there is no indication of the iPod's volume capability on the device itself,
the complaint claimed. A federal appeals court in San Jose, California,
threw the case out.
There's a great article article in the ASHA Leader
that discusses the following 10 myths about Personal Music Players (PMPs).
For the full discussion, please point your browser to http://tinyurl.com/lhnjcw
MYTH 1: Personal music players are a primary reason
for NIHL in children.
MYTH 2: PMP manufacturers have eliminated the risk
of NIHL by providing a means of locking the PMP's volume control setting.
MYTH 3: Insert earphones are worse than other styles
of earphones for your ears.
MYTH 4: The music is too loud if you can hear it
from your child's headphones.
MYTH 5: 85 dBA time-weighted average is a safe noise
exposure reference for children when applied to PMPs.
MYTH 6: Sound levels measured at the eardrum can be
directly compared to damage risk criteria.
MYTH 7: PMPs should never be played at hazardous
MYTH 8: Noise cancellation earphones provide safe
listening because they cancel the hazardous noise.
MYTH 9: A recommended maximum volume control setting
and listening duration for adults is appropriate for children and babies.
MYTH 10: Today's PMP technology puts listeners at
School music teachers have been warned to wear
earmuffs or stand behind noise screens to protect their hearing. This is
because beginners tend to blast away much louder than professionals. The
most potentially deafening instrument is the cornet, with just one honk
being enough to cause permanent ear damage. And standing in the direct fire
of instruments such as the flute, oboe and saxophone can become risky after
just 15 minutes. Standing next to a school band is even more dangerous, the
Health and Safety Executive warns. 'Sound levels produced by groups of
student instrumentalists are likely to be higher than those produced by a
professional group of players because of less-developed technical abilities
and natural exuberance,' the organisation said. 'Damaging sound levels have
been measured at the conductor's position in school bands.'
'I want to ask one fundamental question," said Hans
Keller after a Pink Floyd performance in 1967. "Why has it all got to be so
terribly loud?" "I don't guess it has to be," bass guitarist Roger Waters
replied. "But that's the way we like it. It doesn't sound terribly loud to
us." The Austrian-born musician and musicologist's attitude to the group -
severe, like a schoolmaster telling off naughty boys - made him look like
the quintessential square on the wrong side of the generation gap: he just
couldn't get the high-volume psychedelic sounds that the kids were digging.
Wind forward 41 years to the Roundhouse, London, and My Bloody Valentine are
about to play You Made Me Realize. Guitarist Kevin Shields gestures for his
already fearsomely loud guitar to be turned up - into uncharted territory
way beyond 11 - and midway through the song they launch into the 20 minute
"Holocaust" section of guitar noise and trouser-rippling sub-bass . . . .
The Who went on, in 1976, to become officially The Loudest Band in the World
at 126 decibels
The audiologist didn't mince her words. 'You've got
the hearing of someone 30 years older than you.' The results on the
audiogram showed that I have 'severe' hearing loss with high-frequency
sounds, she said. It's not what a 44-year-old expects or wants to hear. It
wasn't a surprise, though. I've struggled for many years to hear clearly in
almost every situation: at work, in bars or restaurants, at parties, in
front of the TV, at the cinema, or on the mobile. Partial deafness is very
frustrating. It's also usually irreversible. Unlike most parts of the body,
damaged inner ear hair cells don't regenerate. I've lost count of the number
of times I've missed out on hearing a joke, gossip or discussion of a film.
But for many years a reluctance to wear NHS-issue hearing aids meant I did
nothing. But as of 10 days ago I am no longer one of what the Royal National
Institute for Deaf People says is the four million people who could benefit
from wearing a hearing aid but don't, and am now among the two million who