Photo credit: Tanya Gupta from Pexels

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

My noise colleague and coauthor Jan Mayes has an insightful article in the current issue of Tinnitus Today, the quarterly magazine of the American Tinnitus Association.

As Jan’s lead sentence incisively states, “[i]f our ears bled from noise exposure, protecting hearing would undoubtedly be a public health priority.”

Jan goes on to cite a paper that she and I wrote, which noted that everyday noise exposure is sufficient to cause noise-induced hearing loss. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noise-induced hearing loss is the only form of hearing loss that is entirely preventable.

A paper Jan presented at the June 2021 meeting of the Acoustical Society of America also noted that personal audio systems are used by virtually all young people , and many older people, at sound output levels sufficient to cause auditory damage.

Jan suggests public policy measures that might help prevent auditory damage. Unfortunately, our ears don’t bleed, so most of us remain unaware of the damage noise is causing until it’s too late and we have developed tinnitus or hearing loss or both.

Remember: if it sounds loud, it’s too loud, and your auditory health is at risk.