Whaaat??

Cheyann Elmore

Anywhere you go, people can be found walking around with their earphones in, cranking up their music, unaware of the lasting consequences, which, as it turns out, can include gradual and permanent hearing loss, a survey shows.

Conducted in late 2007 at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at Harvard University, the survey showed that nearly half of the respondents said they listen to their music at 75 to 100 percent the maximum volume capacity, which exceeds government regulations for occupational sound levels.

“Hearing loss from excessive sound volume is preventable… and once it happens, the loss is permanent and cannot be reversed,” said Roland Eavey, author of the survey and director of the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center.

Eavey also said it’s possible that even hearing aids won’t be able to cure this particular type of hearing loss, or the “ringing of the ears” that can also occur.

“Hearing loss is so prevalent that it has become the norm,” said Eavey.

It is essential that people become aware of these possibly damaging effects before it is too late, said Eavey.

Even then, the question at hand would be whether or not people would actually make a change, added Eavey.

Eavey’s study found that now 90 percent of males age 60 and older suffer from hearing loss.

“I found out about the consequences of listening to loud music when I was in high school,” said Criminal Justice major Ashley Middlebrooks, 20. “Since then, I have tried to stop listening to music as loud because I don’t plan on wearing hearing aids when I’m older.”

Middlebrooks admits that sometimes she still listens to loud music when walking to and from class, at home and in the shower. But she says that she will try to gradually lower the volume of her music.

According to CSUEB Health Educator Jenny Chu, music heard indoors at clubs and concerts has also been proven in studies to be detrimental to hearing.

“I think many people use music as an escape so that they can be in this other world, which heightens certain senses and influences the body,” said Chu. “Certain music might make someone study better, work out stronger or [be] more focused.”

Even if people knew the consequences that can occur from listening to loud music, they most likely wouldn’t change their ways, says Chu.

“I don’t know anyone who has suffered from listening to loud music,” said Criminal Justice major Justin Fuqua, 20. “I think about the long term effects sometimes, but I’m not sure how they can affect me.”

Fuqua said he listens to his music loudly on a daily basis and plans to continue with his routine.

“People have to see personal susceptibility and severity in order to really change their behavior to begin listening to softer music,” said Chu.