Professional musicians are almost four times as likely to develop noise induced hearing loss as the general public, reveals research. And they are 57% more likely to develop tinnitus—incessant ringing in the ears—as a result of their job, the findings show. Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) can be caused by sudden very loud noise, such as an explosion or gunfire, but it may also develop gradually as a result of repeated exposure to loud noise, suggest the authors of study published in British Medical Journal.
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The reason: frequent subjection to loud sound. Over time, loud sound will irreparably damage the hair cells of the inner ear, which a sensory receptors responsible for sending sound to the brain.
NIHL is permanent and most common cause of hearing loss resulting from prolonged exposure to high levels of noise. The damage caused by noise—sensorineural hearing loss—can be caused by several factors. However, NIHL is preventable, which is why protecting our ears and hearing is so important.
The National Institutes of Health reports that about 15% of Americans ages 20 to 69 have high-frequency hearing loss related to occupational or leisure activities. Evidence suggests that loud rock music along with increased use of personal listening devices with earphones may be further contributing to this phenomenon.
BLOCK, WALK, TURN
Hearing Health Foundation's Safe and Sound program advocates three ways to fight back against excessive noise:
- Block the noise by wearing earplugs or protective earmuffs, like those used by airport or lawn service walkers.
- Walk away from loud noises or limit time spent in noisy environments.
- Turn down the sound – if it’s under your control – on the growing number of tools, toys, and gadgets that add to the increasing noise level of daily life.
Source: Medical Daily; T. Schink, G. Kreutz, V. Busch, I. Pigeot, W. Ahrens. “Incidence and Relative Risk of Hearing Disorders in Professional Musicians.” Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2014; DOI: 10.1136/oemed-2014-102172; The National Institutes.