11 responses Add your response
Pete Townshend said in an interview that he lost his hearing due to an ill timed jump on stage, which placed him directly in front of a stage monitor just as Roger Daltrey let out one of his ear piecing wails. Pete seems to change stories about the cause(s) of his hearing loss, depending upon the interview.
Extremely loud sounds seem to do the most damage to one's hearing. Try a day of shooting or a day tuning race cars without ear protection, if you want fry your hearing in a matter of hours!
There was a study done back in the early 1970's which concluded that hearing loss seemed to be more acute when loud noise was coupled with stress. The theory was that stress reduced blood flow to the cochlea, making the cilia more susceptible to damage. Don't forget that performers are under stresses, both in the recording studio and on stage. We are listening to their music in a different state of relaxation, or to achieve relaxation. They are working!
I am 51, and am now having some infrequent and minor bouts of tinnitus. I get a ringing in either ear that last from 5-15 seconds, usually no more than 2 or 3 times per week. This can occur at any time, and is not related to loud music or noise. I don't "crank" my system or earphones like I used to do. Tinnitus and hearing loss are cumulative...so don't push your luck! And if you're young, and find that you wake up after a night of loud music and your ears are ringing...give them a rest for a few days...NO LOUD MUSIC! My worst exposure was at a Be Bop Deluxe concert in 1977. My ears didn't stop ringing until 5:00 PM the next evening! Great concert, but after that one, I always made sure to take some kind of ear protection to any future concert, should the need arise.
My advice, especially if you are young, is: BE CAREFUL. I worked loud construction type jobs when I was a kid, no OSHA rules and no one paid much attention to job safety. My hearing loss started there and got worse when I attended literally hundreds of rock concerts, including many with Grateful Dead and at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin. Several years ago I finally bought a pair of hi-tech hearing aids after people around me got tired of me asking them to repeat themselves. The aids are tuned to amplify the frequency range that my ears are deficient in. In speaker jargon, it would be the high-mids. They work extremely well, in fact I probably hear better than most people do. The downside is that they cost over $5K per pair and only last for 6-7 years. But hey, that's what I paid for my pair of B&W 802's on Audiogon. I take as good a care of them as I do all of my other gear since they are one of the last links in my "system".
I own a remodeling company in Boulder and it amazes me when I see subs on the job that are working with power tools and not using ear protection. I think most people would be surprised at how easily you can damage your hearing. Any type of electric motor is damaging, even if it doesn't seem very loud. There are high frequency vibrations that are at work on the delicate inner workings of your ears, even if it doesn't seem like it.
Click into Roger Russell's web site. He was a "lead engineer" at McIntosh for many years. He has a good section covering hearing loss due to exposure to loud music. He even put warnings on playing music too loud right up on page two of the manuals of the audio speakers he helped create for McIntosh.
Words of wisdom all about the consequences of not taking care of one's ears ALL the time.
I purchased a pair of digital in-the-ear-canal hearing aids a couple of years ago(both ears). They work well in conversation (provided they don't have to cancel out too many extraneous competing sounds too quickly). The major downside is that when they are in my ears and I'm listening to my home two channel music system the music truly sounds digital and fairly lifeless. Doesn't matter if I'm listening to album through my Linn or Cds through my Sony CD-1. It's bright, clear, and in-my-face (if you will), but it does not sound analogue to me in the slightest.
So...do be careful. When your hearing goes, whatever you purchase as a subsequent replacement is artifical and you will know it.
There are three types of hearing loss. 1. Nerve Loss (sensory Neural), 2. Conductive loss 3. Mixed loss(conductive and nerve). Extensive noise exposure will result in bilateral nerve loss. The damage affects the high frequencies at first; resulting in difficulty in distinguishing the meaning of words. Listening to excessively load music for Lengthy periods of time will cause such damage. When listening to music through headphones, it is important to be aware of the Level of background noise. As the ambient noise increases, the natural response is to increase the volume of the headphones. This can be damaging to the ears. Be careful!
I buy Etymotic earplugs by the dozen and pass them out to people I care about. I was a musician for years, then a piano technician, and now a practicing psychotherapist and audiophile: for me it's all about hearing. I have known too many youngish folks who have permanent hearing loss due to carelessness and a youthful sense of omnipotence. It's just not that hard to pop in the earplugs in vulnerable situations. And I am not afraid to do battle with the lead guitarist in my garage band, who insists that he is not playing too loudly, even as he cranks up his volume. I take this all quite seriously--the subtle nuances of sound are what create those shivers of joy. Isn't that what we're paying the big bucks for?
I spent 10 years working in a pulp and paper mill. We'd have hearing tests every year to see if hearing loss, beyong the normal aging were taking place.
This place was one of the loudest you can imagine, especially in certain places. Believe me, I learned to use hearing protection.
That said, it's funny, but hard, bright treble bothers me more than anything. You would think that, with my upper register gone, I look for bright to compensate, but the reverse is true
I rarely turn my home stereo up loud enough to do damage. I also use headphones, and try to keep them low enough that they aren't loud but loud enough where I'm not straining to hear.
Hearing loss from headphones and canal phones (even more so)is a danger but always has been - we had walkmans in the day, so this is nothing new. They are right next to the ear drum and will cause damage a lot quicker than speakers will.
With my headphones I think about this all the time.