Amplified music. What are the risks ?

  • 01. Tinnitus

    Someone suffering from tinnitus hears noises that have no objective external source. These noises usually sound like whistling or buzzing. The sensation is similar to that caused by the wind, the sound of cicadas, the noise of a high voltage line or the valve of a pressure cooker. A lot of people have temporarily experienced these whistling noises. Tinnitus is triggered by a loss of hearing, noise trauma or, sometimes, by an inflammation of the ear. In some cases the discomfort is bearable. Frequently, however, those permanently afflicted talk of a “nightmare” or “hell” when trying to describe what they suffer on a daily basis. What you need to bear in mind is that, once established, tinnitus is irreversible. It is therefore crucial to consult an ENT specialist immediately if it lasts for more than a few hours.

  • 02. Hyperacusis

    Noises that to others sound normal are perceived as loud or painful. Hyperacusis has several degrees of seriousness and can exist alone or in association with tinnitus.

  • 03. Hypoacusis

    Its symptom is a hearing impairment. Sounds are transmitted correctly, but the person does difficulty hearing them.

  • 04. Sudden deafness

    This is the sudden reduction, complete or partial, of hearing in one ear (or more rarely both). You need to bear in mind that we are not all the same with regard to decibels: the same sound level that you can tolerate may irreversibly damage the hearing of your neighbour. In the most serious cases, communication with others becomes completely impossible.

How to protect your ears ?

Unlike the volume on your music player or the amplifier on your guitar, you cannot control that of the concerts or parties you attend. However, there are ways to stay healthy and reduce the risk of damaging your ears:

01. Use earplugs. But be careful: earplugs reduce the risks, but they don’t provide total protection. Even when you are using plugs, you should take other precautions.

02. Allow yourself a few moments of peace and quiet: a 10-minute break every 45 minutes or 30-minute break every 2 hours reduces risks.

03. Be aware of your tiredness level: if you are tired or have been exposed to large amounts of noise during the week, your ears will be more fragile.

04. Be aware of your tiredness level: if you are tired or have been exposed to large amounts of noise during the week, your ears will be more fragile.

05. Avoid going out on too many occasions within a short period.

06. Bear in mind your state of health: if you have a cold (blocked nose), have an earache or, of course, if you already have tinnitus, the risk of hearing problems is much greater.

07. Be mindful of your consumption. Most psychotropics, such as alcohol, cocaine and some medicines, alter the auditory perception, alleviate pain (you do not realise your ears need a break) and make you less cautious (you pay less attention to your environment and forget to take precautions).

08. Control the volume of your music player: when you listen to “background” music for more than one hour a day, this can affect your hearing. By lowering the volume, you can increase your listening time while reducing the risks.

09. And quite simply – why be a masochist? Avoid places that are too noisy for you…

What should you do in case of a problem ?

If you hear buzzing or whistling noises, consult an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist immediately. Swift treatment can help you avoid irreversible problems.

If you suffer from total or partial hearing loss after exposure to noise, you must see an ENT specialist as soon as possible or go to A&E.

In either case, tell the doctor you have been exposed to high sound levels !

“Decibels, protect your ears”, produced under the label by the Brussels CLPS and Modus Vivendi asbl, with the support of the President of the COCOF in charge of health and the French Community of Belgium.