Some Facts About Your Hearing

Your hearing is a precious sense that lets you perceive sounds by detecting vibrations through the air. Sound creates waves that travel to your ear then through the ear canal, past your eardrum, rattles around in your cochlea where it brushes against microscopic hairs that pick up the sound waves and then travels through the auditory nerve where it is received by your brain and recognised as which sound it is. 85 decibels is loud enough to begin to harm your hearing and is about 3/4 up your volume on your ipod/phone. 110 is enough to permanently damage your hearing and is about how loud a car horn is or a jack hammer. A jack hammer? That's pretty loud right? Well that and louder is what DJ's experience year round at festivals and performances!

Listening to music this loud, day in day out causes something called tinnitus. Tinnitus is a physical condition where the sufferer experiences ringing in the ears when there is no external source of the ringing. Though tinnitus is something around 18% of Australians suffer from, it is not an actual disease but rather a symptom to any number of afflictions. Perhaps as simple as wax against the eardrum, or as serious as a tumour on the hearing nerve. Otosclerosis (fixation of the tiny stirrup bone in the middle ear) can produce tinnitus; so can Meniere's disease!  

Many people to protect their ears use earplugs, such as those above, if they are in a job or position which exposes them to constant amounts of high level sounds. People such as motor-bike riders, airport service staff and construction workers use basic ear plugs like this just to block general loud noises, whereas musicians and DJ's use custom fitting ear plugs which rather than blocking the noise, slow it down so that it is at a tolerable level when it reaches the ear drum.

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