Doc warns of noise danger
Thursday, January 24 2013
HAVE you ever had to raise the volume on your vehicle’s radio after returning from a fete?
If so, chances are you are experiencing a temporary threshold shift in your hearing which, in two to three percent of fete lovers, can result in permanent damage and even loss of hearing.
Ear, Nose and Throat specialist Dr Austin Trinidade yesterday said doctors have seen cases involving musicians, including panmen experiencing some kind of hearing loss due to sustained excessive noise levels which is the norm around Carnival.
“It would differ to which section they are playing in, but this is not something new and exposure to noise levels will result in some sort of hearing loss,” Trinidade said. He added, while TT due to its size, did not possess the necessary resources to carry out a comprehensive study, local doctors have said there are instances where persons have permanently lost their hearing due to short exposure to loud music from speakers, steelbands and other sources of sound such as music trucks.
“You can try this experiment the next time you are driving to a fete. If on returning from a three-hour fete and you turn on your car and the radio comes on but you have to raise the volume because the volume is too low, then your temporary threshold shift had dropped.”
He said normal hearing levels should return between 24 to 48 hours, but in one or two persons, that shift can become permanent, adding there is no way to predict whose hearing could be affected by noise levels.
He said persons, especially children should stay well away from speaker boxes, music trucks, very loud steel bands or other sources of extremely high decibels. He said musicians, including masqueraders, should also wear ear protection whenever the level of sound becomes too high and walking alongside loud speakers mounted on trucks should be avoided.
According to online checks, a “continuous noise level of 85 dB, (decibel) will result in hearing damage and hearing loss.”
“Compressed air hammers have a sound level of about 100 dB and rock concerts almost always reach 110-120 dB — the same sound intensity can easily be produced in headsets when you listen to your stereo,” an online study on the health effect of noise stated.
Temporary threshold shift is mostly experienced as a temporary dullness in your hearing after exposure to loud noises and hearing would subsequently recover - depending on how loud the noises have been and the length of exposure. “Permanent threshold shift is first experienced 48 hours after exposure to excessive noise and can occur if you have been regularly exposed to excessive noise for long periods of time though can also occur if exposed to very high sound levels for a short period of time.’