Friday, July 6, 2007

Music Induced Hearing Loss

I noticed in the wikipedia article on Ted Nugent in myprevious post that he was nearly deaf in his left ear. Just because something sounds good doesn't mean it can't destroy your hearing. Hearing loss due to high sound levels can involve permanent damage to the nerve endings that respond to sound in the inner ear. This irreversibly distorts sound, especially high sounds around 4000 Hz. This isn't just limited to musician - a night at a concert can leave you with ringing ears and hearing loss. A better choice is to protect yourself.

Some the best hearing protection is also among the cheapest. The humble yellow foam plug is very useful for industrial settings. However, normal hearing protectors distort sounds when used. The problem comes from the acoustics of the outer ear. This article describes the idea. E-A-R, a major hearing protection company, makes a reasonably priced pair of flat attenuation ear plugs. The flat attenuation is like turning down the volume on a stereo - there is very little distortion. If you plan on going to a big concert, you may want to find a pair on the Internet.

Also, for those who are fond of firearms, they have a specially designed hearing protection system made for the military. It is designed to stop impulse noises like gunfire and explosions without compromising the ability to hear ambient sounds. Given how much noise to which someone in a firefight is exposed, I'd say they are a good idea.

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