Deaf Poets?

This article is about dangerous noise levels and how vulnerable artists in the music industry are to damaging their hearing, and suffering from afflictions such as Tinnitus. Tinnitus is described as “a neurological problem that originates in the brain, involving miscommunication between noise-damaged sensory cells; the result is a continuous ringing sound in the ears.” Basically this is a never ending ringing sensation in your ears that results from prolonged listening to dangerous frequencies of music, or other noises that are loud enough. Even riding the subway (something I’m sure we all do regularly) is something that can cause hearing loss to some degree.

Later in the article, the author wrote…

“When properly inserted, foam earplugs block out dangerous frequencies . . . Most agree that if earplugs are going to “cut out” any important sounds, it’ll be vocals, which sit on the high end of the mix and are hardest to capture because of the artist’s distance from the mic and the fact that they are constantly moving. Audiologists, however, agree that vocals aren’t loud enough to be blocked out even from cheap earplugs, which are designed to cut out only the dangerous frequencies.”

I conducted some light research and found out that normal conversation typically registers around 60 decibels or higher. Anything at or around the 75-80 decibel range (which is comparable to city traffic) is unlikely to cause any permanent or extensive hearing loss. So the “dangerous frequencies” that the author was referring to must lie within the 90 db range and above. Noises such as fireworks going off, motorcycles whizzing right by, or the sound of gunfire- which all lie within the 120-140 db range will all cause permanent damage to the sensitive hairs that pick up sound inside your ear.

Most venues tend to blast loud music in the frequency range of 98 to 115 db, which is recognized as 20 db higher than necessary for hearing damage to occur after sustained listening. They apparently do this for no reason other than they simple want it to be loud. This puts the artist, and people who regularly attend these extremely noisy concerts at the greatest level of risk. In my opinion, I feel that if it is common knowledge that if these music events are loud enough to cause hearing damage to the point of having full blow tinnitus, it should be mandatory to wear some form of ear protection, exactly how its mandatory to wear a hard hat at a construction site. Either that, or make it illegal to play music so harmfully loud. I honestly don’t think people will notice the difference.

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