Council hopes student noise message doesn’t fall on deaf ears

By on 30/04/2010 in News

Concerned by the perils of hearing loss facing a generation of young people hooked on MP3 and MP4 players, the council is urging students to turn it down.

Environmental Health Officers from the council's Regulatory Services directorate visited Birmingham City University (BCU) as part of national Noise Action Week to raise awareness of the problem.

Repeated excessive exposure to loud noise can damage the tiny hairs in the cochlea and lead to hearing loss.

The ear has three areas: the outer, middle, and inner ear. The eardrum, a thin membrane, divides the middle and outer ear. When we hear, sound vibrations funnel through the outer ear and down the ear canal, where the sounds hit the eardrum, and cause the eardrum to vibrate.

These vibrations are passed through the three small bones in the middle ear, the sound vibrations are transmitted to the inner ear. Tiny hairs in the cochlea transform the sound vibrations into nerve impulses. The impulses are then transmitted to the brain through the auditory nerve.

Officers discussed with students the potential hearing damage that could be caused through using devices with head phones attached, like MP4 players, as well as protecting their hearing when attending noisy gigs and parties.

A number of students had their personal equipment tested by officers, and the results were disturbing.

Mark Croxford, Birmingham City Council's Head of District Services, comments:

“Many people don't realise that listening to their favourite music at excessive volumes can make them go deaf. There are many famous musicians who suffer from hearing loss and tinnitus because of loud noise at gigs.

“21 students at BCU had equipment tested. 12 students were found to be using equipment above the safe recommended level of 80dBA, which puts them at risk of permanent hearing damage. One of the units tested even reached 93dBA, which is equivalent to standing next to an electrical drill.”

ENDS

For more information please contact Hayley Meachin on 0121 303 1271/ 07920 750007 hayley.meachin@birmingham.gov.uk

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