by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
This report from the University of Rochester Medical Center describes research showing that in a mouse model, a combination of silence and broadband sounds (containing sounds at many different frequencies) may help preserve hearing.
There are multiple steps over many years to translate animal research into anything relevant to humans, but we don’t need any more research to know that noise causes hearing loss. That has been known for centuries, with hearing loss reported in bellringers and stonemasons and blacksmiths in medieval times, and then in factory workers during the industrial revolution.
And since 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been investigating noise-induced hearing loss in the public, and trying to educate the public about the dangers of noise.
I presented a paper about the data showing that in everyday life Americans are exposed to noise sufficient to cause hearing loss at the June meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. This was just published with coauthor Jan Mayes in Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics.
The CDC tells us that noise-induced hearing loss is the only form of hearing loss that is entirely preventable.
Avoid exposure to loud noise and your ears will last a lifetime.
If something sounds loud, it’s too loud, and your hearing is in danger.
Leave the loud environment, move away from the sound source, or insert earplugs now, or need hearing aids later.
DISCLOSURE: I received my medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, for which the University of Rochester Medical Center is the main teaching hospital.