Turn volume down – or regret it laterBy Laura McCardle
April 17, 2012
Hearing experts from Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) hit the town centre to warn people of the dangers of listening to their MP3 players at a high volume.
The audiologists teamed up with national charity Action on Hearing Loss to warn people of the risk of developing tinnitus, a ringing in the ears, or losing their hearing completely as a result of listening to loud music through their headphones.
They stopped passers-by in Broad Street and outside Reading Station on Tuesday, April 3 to see if they were listening to their MP3 players at a potentially dangerous volume and advised how to prevent hearing problems later in life.
According to the charity, anything louder than 80 decibels causes damage.
Participants were asked to wear an earphone connected to the dummy head and set the volume to a level they would usually listen to.
If the light on the dummy went red, they knew they needed to turn it down.
Dr Laura Booth, principal clinical scientist at RBH, said: “Historically our audiology services have managed the hearing loss of the elderly but we’ve decided we need to start being more proactive helping the younger generation protect their hearing.
“A lot of people have come out with a red result which means they are using their MP3s too loud.
“The majority say they won’t make any changes which is quite interesting but if they experience tinnitus, they would worry.
“My feeling is that because hearing loss isn’t happening to them now they won’t worry until it’s happened.”
With the team was Marc Nicholson, 31, who DJs in bars and clubs around Reading.
He suffers with tinnitus, or a “high pitch noise” as he referred to it, as a result of listening to loud music through headphones.
He said: “I have listened to MP3 players for most of my life.
“When I was younger they thought the ringing would go away and was just one of those things.
“One day I went to bed with the ringing and it has been there ever since – it’s chronic.
“I’m coping fine but for about a year I was really depressed. The worst thing is I have done it to myself.”
He said the awareness event was “fantastic because people don’t know what’s a safe level to listen to their MP3. The problem is they don’t realise what a serious issue it is.”
For more information about tinnitus and hearing loss, visit www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk