Sound of Music: Be careful you might be exposing yourself to the dangers of hearing loss

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I stopped listening to MP3s, MP4s, IPODs long time ago.

Depending on how you take care of your ears, and how loud you listen to your "music", listening to digital media like MP3s, MP4, MP5, IPODs, cellphone media players for a long time can cause serious damage to you and your hearing capability. Well, the effect is sometimes gradual and you might not notice, but slowly and silently your cochlea, basilar membrane and those hair cells (cilia) that enable you to receive sound signals might get damaged because of constant exposure to loud and not so loud music.

I am alarmed because when I am riding a public transportation, I often get across youngsters (like me, lol) who listen to the music through to their cellphones, and even if I am a meter away from them, I could actually hear the songs blasting escaping out from their headsets!

In my calculation, if they go on like that, three or four months later, they're deaf!

You don't believe me? Go see a doctor, or more appropriately an ENT (ear-nose-throat) specialist.

I got hooked with this trend once too! I use to put on my earphone on my left ear (I sleep on the right side) as I am about to sleep. It soothes my mood and makes me relaxed. One night however, I noticed that my right ear can hear even volume level one (that is, in the dead of the night) but my left ear can't! It can hear the background noises, like the bass beats or maybe those that are low frequency waves but the high frequency sound waves I completely cannot hear especially the monotone. So I started to get disturbed and finally sought a doctor to explain what happened.

Upon careful examination, the doctor told me that cilia (those hair cells found inside the ears) looked trampled and damaged. He referred me to go to a laboratory to check if I had some hearing loss, if it was severe or not, or if they can still be reversed. He told me he is very alarmed because in a month, he has been receiving complaints from clients who have lost a certain degree of their hearing and is saddened by the fact, that one promising maritime engineering student had to drop out of school because he of total hearing loss. He cited that the reason for the hearing loss of that person was his day-in and day-out exposure to an MP3 player.

I don't have problems with everyday conversations. My right ear is normal after all. As for my left ear, it's moderately deaf and the damage done can never be reversed. All I can do now is to prevent further complications. Good thing, I discovered it early... Thank God.

Writing this post I could still hear the reminder of the doctor, "please take good care of your ears now, or people might whisper in front of you without you knowing 'sus kasayang, gwapa unta bungol lang' (oh, how tragic, she' s pretty but she's deaf).

Disclaimer: There might be other factors too like noise pollution from other sources

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