Listening to loud music through earphones could lead to hearing loss,according to ear,nose and throat-ENT specialists.
The electronic portable music devices allow people to listen to audio,without troubling those around them.But scientists are warning that cases of noise-induced hearing loss are becoming common,as a result of long-term use of earphones.
“That music might sound light but since pods are pushed into the ears,it quickly reaches the eardrum compared to someone listening to music through a loudspeaker,”Dr Eric Grace Mugaddu,a surgeon at ENT and throat center says.
Dr Mugaddu explains that when loud noise damages the eardrum and leaves the middle ear vulnerable to infections.Similarly,Dr Edward Turitwenka,another ENT specialists says that having the source of the sound in ones ear canal can increase the sound’s volume by nine decibels.
“So if you listen to music at volume level 4 which is around 95 decibels using earphones,the sound reaching your ear will be more than 100.that is too loud,”he said.
Most portable stereo music systems such as earphones or headphones can produce sound in the range of 95-108 decibels at level 4 and more than 115 decibels at level 8 of volume knob.
According to doctors,if people listen to music at over 85 decibels for eight hours,there is a 50 percent chance that by the time they reach their 50s,they will suffer from hearing impairments.The most common impairment according to Dr Turitwenka is not being able to properly hear a high pitched noise like that made by young children.
He adds that listening to music at 95 decibels can damage the eardrum after only four hours of exposure per day of using earphones for a period of less than a year.to correct hearing impairments by either the use of hearing aids and cochlear implants,one has to part with 3 million and 100 million shillings respectively.
But several users that URN spoke to intimated that they were not aware of the harm that comes with using earphones.Sheila Mirembe, a salesperson in Kampala said that she relies on earphones for entertainment during her routine errands.
Mugasha Charles,a headset seller says that he uses them not to bother people around him with loud noise from his phone.
On the market,headphones or earphones cost between 3,500 to 50,000 shillings.those with earbuds can be purchased at 5,000 shillings and those that sit over the ears on average cost 25,000shillings.
However,to some ,the use of earphones needs to be outlawed for reasons that go beyond the health threat.Edward Kakumiro,a businessman in town says using headphones in public is not socially acceptable because it threatens the interaction between people in society.
James Sunday Ssekungu,a spice hawker along Kampala road says that the government should ban the usage of earphones because they are foreign import that is destroying society.
A recent study conducted by scientists on more than 5,ooo children aged nine to 11-years-old over three years,in the Netherlands found one in seven of them had suffered some hearing loss after persistent use of earphones.
According to the study,14.2 percent of school-aged children showed audiometric notches or high-frequency hearing loss.
The researchers,from Erasmus Medical Center,say the findings suggest the need for early education on how to use portable music players responsibly.