Can music damage your ears?

There are ways to protect your ears and still enjoy listening to music. 

Music - good for the soul but what about the ears?

Did you know that a third of 16 to 34 year olds are listening to music through earphones for at least an hour a day; and 1 in 7 manage four times that amount? Many at high volume up to 100 decibels - louder than a jack hammer? It's a hearing health issue waiting to happen!

Normally private hearing aid companies encourage you to take a free hearing assessment once a year if you are over 55. Apparently one high street hearing centre is offering this to anyone over 40! Could they be anticipating what could be the norm in years to come?

But just how does music sound to those with hearing loss? Check out the video below to learn how a piece of music is heard differently depending on the type of hearing loss experienced and how this affects hearing different sound frequencies. 

So what's the answer to increasing hearing challenges with music today?

Music is often a big part of everyday life for many people but this can present challenges relating to hearing and hearing loss. Simple lifestyle changes could help prevent further hearing loss.

For those who choose to wear earphones, if they are poor quality, and the environment in which they are worn in is noisy, they often listen to music at full or higher volume.

The use of good quality headphones can be less damaging than earphones because they go over the ears and block out a lot of background noise meaning you don't need to turn up the volume.

By not listening to music as loudly and by protecting your ears with ear plugs when encountering loud noise such as at live events you can help to protect your hearing. 

Let's hope this is advice that does not fallen on deaf ears!

A story from real life about music, hearing loss and tinnitus

Watch out for the danger signs at live performances ...

That wouldn't have helped one of our patients "in the early days of rock 'n' roll". In those days the equivalent to iPods and MP3 players - hi-fi systems and record players - did not usually transmit direct to the eardrum via earphones. But that didn't stop us suffering long-term damage to our hearing when it came to live concerts.

Hearing loss, tinnitus or both could be the result
In fact, many a seasoned rock performer of that era now has a hearing loss, tinnitus, or both. And so have many of their devoted fans. There was one Status Quo concert in particular that one of our patients attended. As he told us, perhaps acoustics were perfect, but the noise level! Unbelievable.

The funny part about it was the effect it had on him after the show. Talk about tinnitus. He said his ears were "alive".

The tinnitus appeared all of a sudden 
His reaction - and one that he still laughs about to this day - happened once he got inside his car. He opened the windows to try to let the noise out! How ambitious was that? If this ever happens to you, don't bother trying it. It doesn't work! But hopefully it will clear up after a short while. His did.

Listen to music but without hearing loss or tinnitus as a side effect

There really is no excuse to be so affected. Today's technology is producing solutions alongside the problems it is creating. It also specialises in ways to prevent certain hearing loss occurring in the first place, unless caused by a medical condition or natural aging. These include earphones and headphones as well as earplugs. Some are specially made for music, the noisy workplace - even riding your motorbike.

And they are an absolute must if you are fan of Formula 1!

If you do suspect you have suffered a hearing loss in this way, or have tinnitus, consult your GP or seek advice privately from bloom hearing specialists, free of charge, by calling the above number, or request an appointment.

More advice on how you can protect your hearing is provided here: Stop smoking - for the sake of those around you, your lungs - and your hearing, mp3 players and everyday things that can damage your hearing. How to protect yourself.