Young turn a deaf ear to noise risks
By RENEE REDMOND
DEB RAY loved nothing more than cramming into a sweaty pub and listening to the bellow of punk.
That was 20 years ago.
Now the Lismore DJ admits her hearing has suffered.
"I've never had my hearing tested, but it's nothing like it used to be," she said.
"It's changed the way I DJ because I can't hear the music through the headphones, so I don't wear them."
A recent study by Britain's Royal National Institute for Deaf People has warned young people who frequent noisy nightclubs and concerts are at risk of permanent hearing damage.
It said 75 per cent suffered ringing in their ears and dullness of hearing after a night out.
Many of those reported symptoms that could lead to incurable tinnitus or premature deafness.
Audiometrist and director of Advanced Hearing Aid Specialists in Ballina, Hunter Reed, said rock concerts and nightclubs often exceeded 140 decibels and could cause regular concertgoers hearing damage.
"Regular exposure to 110 decibels and higher for more than one minute risks permanent hearing loss," he said.
"I think iPods (and other music devices that use earphones) are causing more of a problem than nightclubs because people are putting them down the ear canal and leaving them thumping in there all day."
Mr Reed said there were three main factors he looked at in hearing loss ? how long, how loud and how close.
"Dance away from the speakers at nightclubs and avoid listening to iPods too loud and for too long," he said.
Mr Reed said loud music and noise damaged the cochlear. The damage was often noticed later in life and was known as noise induced loss.
It reduced the ability to hear high-frequency sounds and to clearly hear other people speaking, he said.