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Loud music damages ears of new generation

Staff Report • Feb 12, 2013 at 8:44 AM

Highly amplified car stereos emit a low-frequency noise that is much more annoying than high-frequency tunes blared at a similar volume. The vibrations from passing “Boom Cars” often shake windows and rattle the china in the dining rooms of homes in residential areas.

Boom Cars also attract the attention of law enforcement officers. Such was the case Feb. 1 when a Johnson City Police officer stopped a driver for noise pollution. Had he not been playing his radio too loudly, the driver would most likely not have been discovered by the police to be wanted in Mississippi on a number of felony charges.

There are reasons other than to avoid detection for turning down the volume of your car radio. Loud car stereos can and will most obviously affect the hearing of the car’s occupants.

While most of the teenagers and young men and women who drive Boom Cars think they are cool now, they may have a different opinion in 20 or 30 years. Hearing aid manufacturers are already anticipating a spike in sales in a few years, thanks to aging Car Boomers.

Here’s some good advice for young people to remember when listening to their favorite tunes over a digital player or a car stereo: Turning up the volume can result in hearing problems when you are older.

It’s a warning parents have given their children for years, and well they should. Audiologists fear young people are causing serious damage to their hearing by listening to loud music through earphones for extended periods of time. This practice is likely to result in tinnitus and loss of hearing in later years.

Some hearing experts believe audio players should be designed to prevent people playing music above 90 decibels, about two-thirds of the maximum volume of a typical device. Audiologists also warn that earbuds, the style of headphones favored by many listeners, may be particularly harmful. If the earbuds don’t fit properly, the user will turn up the volume to block outside noise.

Hearing loss is something few think about when they are young. Even so, it is the carelessness of youth that haunts many when they are older.

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