Hearing Loss: A Musician's Nightmare


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Hearing loss can be defined as a reduction in an individual’s ability to hear sounds. Essentially, loss of hearing can affect a person of any age group, young or old. Nevertheless it is appreciated that hearing loss tends to occur gradually as a person ages. Hearing loss can be temporary or permanent and mild or severe. There are three kinds of hearing loss that can affect a person and these are neural/sensorineural, conductive, or a combination of both of these.

Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by the malfunction of the cochlea, or auditory system. This type of hearing loss can be caused by various kinds of disease, certain kinds of drugs that are capable of causing injury to the hearing system, head trauma, aging and genetic syndromes.

As opposed to Sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss is caused by the malfunction of the middle ear system, which includes, for instance, ear drums. Conductive hearing loss can be caused by a number of conditions which include fluids accumulated in the middle ear which is caused by flu, ear infections, allergies and perforated ear drums. Impacted ear wax can also be said to be a contributive factor to loss of hearing.

Hearing loss is primarily caused by 5 main reasons and these are excessive and long term exposure to high levels of noise, infection of the ears, medication, physical trauma and also genetic factors.

A special category of people that are affected by hearing loss are musicians simply because they are exposed to a very high level of noise from the music they play, especially during concerts. In the early days, musicians, especially from the rock genre never used to wear hearing protection and due to exposure to these high levels of sound, they develop hearing loss. The situations are changing these days as rock musicians now protect their ears from high levels of sound as they understand the need to protect their hearing.

As far as exposure to high levels of noise is concerned, it is understood that an exposure which attracts a noise level of > 70 dB(A) or more for long and extended durations of time can cause a lasting, sensorineural hearing loss. Audio devices such as a walkman or iPods which have been known to produce powerful sounds can contribute to hearing loss. Exposure to very loud sounds such as jet engines, that can produce a noise level of 90 Db, can also cause hearing loss.

Hearing loss is normally measured in decibels hearing level (dbhl). A person with mild hearing loss will have a dbhl of around 25-39 dBHL. Concerning moderate loss, it will range to about 40-68 dBHL and 70-94 dBHL for severe hearing loss.

Besides exposure to high levels of noise, hearing loss can also be caused by disease. Among the more well- known diseases that can induce or cause hearing loss are meningitis, measles, adenoids, Chlamydia, and Presbyacusis. Essentially, presbycusis is hearing loss that occurs as a person gets older

An interesting phenomenon of is that it can also be caused by genetics. Dominant and recessive genes which exist can cause mild or profound hearing loss. This simply means that a dominant gene of deafness can persist across generations.

Levels of hearing loss are simply categorized by severity and age of onset. The severity of hearing loss is measured by the level of loudness which must be reached in order for it to be heard by a person. Hearing loss can be categorized as mild, moderate, severe, or profound.

With the development of science and technology, more potent and sustainable treatment has been developed for various categories of hearing loss. The most conventional remedy for hearing loss has been hearing aids. Cochlea implants also seem to be gaining popularity and are used to treat mild to profound hearing loss. Some types of treatment include using assistive listening devices.

Essentially, effective treatment of hearing loss will depend largely on identifying the cause of the hearing loss. In some situations hearing loss is permanent and cannot be cured. Hence the solution is such circumstances will be to use hearing aids, which can help people with hearing loss, whether it is caused by conductive or sensorineural hearing loss. Besides hearing aids, cochlea implants can also be done restore hearing. In essence, one effective way avoiding hearing loss is simply to avoid activities that can cause hearing loss such as not exposing oneself to high levels of sounds that can cause hearing loss as it is a known fact that prevention is better than cure.

David P Killian is the proud owner of the huge hit music production site and forums http://www.audioracle.com and other great sites like http://www.homostrology.com and http://www.djdemand.com. He is a full time web developer and music producer.


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