If you are one of those unfortunate individuals suffering from tinnitus, you know how annoying and energy sapping that ringing in the ears can be. Even worse is the likelihood that it could eventually lead to deafness. Chances are that you are of advanced years, or at least middle-aged. Tinnitus is thankfully not a young peoples’ ailment – as yet.
iPhones and iPods have become essential accessories among the youth today. Plugging one of the gadgets into your ear is now as automatic as pulling on a tee shirt. You do it almost subconsciously, crank up the volume and carry on your daily activities. And the reality that music has evolved from emphasis on melody to heavy metal and modern pop songs with its guitar riffs and heavily amplified sound; and this has only aggravated the problem. Moreover, because listening to music on your iPhone or iPad has become so ubiquitous and routine, you almost forget that you have it on.
Your ears don’t forget, however. Those who play their music at full blast, on their daily commute for example, are at greater risk of developing tinnitus in later life, with the probability of deafness a few years down the line. This tendency is becoming increasingly apparent in young people and, in fact, some doctors have coined a new term for it: iPod-it is. Doctors, clinics and hospitals are reporting that the number of young people coming to them with hearing problems is increasing almost on a monthly basis; and are warning music lovers to exercise caution, since sustained exposure to high decibels could eventually lead to complete hearing loss. Even working in close proximity to loud music blaring out of speakers can be hazardous.
A senior chief audiologist at a Liverpool hospital explains that Youngsters who listen to music on personal music players do not understand the damage they are causing. The number of patients visiting his clinic has increased significantly in the past two yours; and they are getting younger.
Sometimes people will turn up their music players to drown out background noise, when travelling in a train, for example. You can hear the music a person is listening to three seats away, so you can imagine how loud it sounds to the guy with earphones. The bottom line is that the human ear is not designed to sustain high decibels on a continuous basis. So turn the volume down. You owe it to your ears, if not yourself.