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Sound That Kills Sound

Don’t Let This Warning Fall On Deaf Ears

Have you ever being riding on the train, maybe taking a nap, or quietly reading a magazine or a book, and at the same time noticing that you also been involuntarily listening to a music coming out of another person’s headphones? A person may not even be sitting next to you – he or she may have been standing all the way at the other end of a car, minding their own business, but the music they listen to reaches your ears. Sometimes you can’t hear it well enough to distinguish one artist from another (not that you want to), but you can hear the beat pattern loud enough for you to kinda tell what style of music has been listened to – you know – fast or slow, techno dance or heavy metal…

While it may be distracting, and even frustrating for some of the passengers to have no choice but to listen to a noise coming from a stranger’s iPod, that is not what I’d like to talk about here.

The mere fact that I can hear any sound at all, that is coming from the audio device mounted on somebody else’s head, screams the fact that what is happening between that music transmitting piece of equipment and its owner’s ears is not even almost healthy. And I’ll tell you why.

We have these tiny hair cells in our ears that are responsible for our ability to hear well. Without those hair cells our brain won’t be receiving a very important signal – sound. Listening to loud music causes these hairs to flatten up. And though they will usually bounce back if exposed to a loud noise for only a short period of time (like at the concert, for instance), in case of being bombarded with sound over 90dB over a long period of time, your ear hairs become weaker and, eventually, get damaged permanently – they won’t ever re-grow.

Put plainly, listening to a loud music may, and gradually will make you deaf. Any noise above 90dB is harmful for our hearing, and causes noise-inducted hearing loss (NIHL). While we can’t eliminate all noise pollution from our life (sounds of street, industrial noise, construction activities, to name a few), we can do something about our music listening habits. And it’s not the style of music we are listening to – it’s excessive amount of time and volume at which we choose to listen to it. So, to prevent NIHL, don’t listen to music non-stop and at maximum volume.

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