MEXICO CITY – The constant use of cellphones and headphones at too high a volume has caused between 20 to 30 percent of adults to suffer hearing loss, a specialist said.
“Listening to music with the volume too high increases the risk of hearing loss and can even lead to deafness,” warned Dr. Jose Luis Garcia Arcadia, director of Subzona General Hospital No. 6 in Baja California.
“The volume of noise considered harmful starts at 85 decibels with, for example, traffic noise or the hum of a refrigerator. Motorcycle and lawnmower motors reach 90, while MP3 digitized music files can rise to 100 decibels,” the expert said.
Garcia Arcadia said that an intermittent buzzing sound in one ear, the difficulty of understanding or identifying words in a conversation and the discomfort of hearing sharp sounds are the first signs of a progressive hearing loss and indicate the need to see a doctor right away.
The specialist recommended listening to music at a moderate volume, which “allows you to hear what’s going on around you, and at the same time, avoid having to yell in order to be heard.”
He noted that certain activities exist that heighten the risk of people suffering hearing damage, such as wearing complete headphones to provide service to clients, operating heavy machinery and being a musician playing in a band, all activities that bombard people with high decibels.
“They run the risk of going deaf if they don’t use devices that filter and reduce the surrounding sound,” he warned.
The specialist said that noise can destroy nerve cells of the inner ear that permit hearing, and the damage is irreversible.
“When that happens, one must use a hearing aid, oxygenizing medications and vitamin supplements, which contribute to a better listening quality though the hearing function will never recover 100 percent.