Download some super tracks from HearPlug: a benefit site for H.E.A.R.
A music video: which gives you a chance to "experience" tinnitus
The official Web site of H.E.A.R.
It's not cool if you can't hear.
That's the message of Kathy Peck, former member of an all girl punk band. Kathy's been on four national tours, appeared on television, played shows with big name acts.
Kathy may have seen it all- but she can't HEAR it all any more. Repeated exposure to excessive noise (otherwise known as music) caused a ringing sensation in her ears called tinnitus. It also decreased her ability to hear.
And she's not alone. You might be surprised how many musicians end up needing hearing aids-- or deaf.
In 1988, Kathy and a doctor named Flash Gordon started H.E.A.R. (Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers).
She's now the group's executive director.
H.E.A.R. deals with the problems and dangers of loud music.
If you think the world's getting louder-- you're right.
The fact is, concerts aren't the only place where the volume's on high. As a society we're increasingly using noise to create excitement. Everything's louder than it once was. From big screen movie theaters to video games, the volume's been pumped up.
Ever notice that some of the commercials that get your attention sound like someone hit the volume button? Many consumer products are super noisy-- even though there's technology that could tone things down.
Doctors say they're seeing hearing loss at younger ages. Nearly 15 percent of young people 6 to 19 years old showed signs of hearing loss, according to a study published in 1998 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Another study found that hearing problems among those ages 18 to 44 grew by 17 percent over the last two decades.
When is it Too Loud?
The louder a sound, the less time you can listen to it before it damages your hearing.
There are tiny hair cells in the snail-shaped inner ear which convert sound vibrations into the electrical energy used by the brain to interpret sound.
Intense energy-- like the blast of a gun-- can destroy those cells. Once is all it takes- the damage is done, can't be repaired and builds up.
Several hours of exposure to loud levels of sound-- like sitting right in front of the speaker at a concert-- can cause the same type of damage. Click here for warning signs.
At first, the hearing loss may only be temporary, with hearing returning to normal after several hours or days. But your ears will eventually lose their ability to bounce back.
First to go are those hair cells-- that's why many people initially lose their ability to hear the "s" and "f" in speech. Click here to take a test to see if you have hearing loss, and to get an idea of what it's like to be hard of hearing.
Face the Music
Do you slap on your headphones and tune out the world? The good news is that personal stereo systems with headphones do not pose a substantial threat unless you really blast it.
How can you tell? A Walkman-type stereo is too loud if someone else can hear the music coming from your headphones or if you can't hear someone when they speak to you.
If you are in a band or go to a lot of concerts you might want to consider Musician's Earplugs.
More and more, musicians, their sound crews, recording engineers, nightclub employees, and other music industry professionals are using these special plugs.
The plugs make sound quality clearer and more natural and help reduce fatigue associated with noise exposure.
If you're a loud-music listener you may not need special earplugs, but you might pick up a pair at the drug store before you go to a concert.
You wear sunglasses on a bright day, why not protect your ears from something equally, or more damaging than the sun.
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