Music, Tinnitus, and Hearing loss – Vincent

Hearing loss

          I chose this topic because hearing loss is a not well understood and known risk (as it’s often ignored) that can potentially leave people deaf for life. My connections to this is that I used listen to music at high volumes frequently, and I now have minor case of tinnitus (ringing in the ears) from acoustic trauma. They expand learning because it helps people become more aware to certain problems people often disregard as minor when in reality it would be hazardous. This issue is relevant to me since teenagers like myself like to listen to music a lot to reduce stress, and sometimes I like to turn up the volume, as the music somehow feels better like that, however we would be unaware that it could potentially damage hearing through constant use. It is an important issue that must be addressed because most people are not informed of the damage high volumes of sound can do to themselves. In fact, the WHO (World Health Organisation) reported that over 1.1 billion teenagers like me are now at risk for hearing loss in 2015. 50% of the 1.1 billion were listening to loud music on mp3 players while the rest were exposed to extremely high volumes at music concerts and festivals. Most of them don’t even know that once they lose their hearing abilities it will never come back. In my opinion, hearing loss (and some cases of tinnitus) hit teenagers hardest. This is because as aforementioned, teens love to listen to music with the volume up high- and for long periods of time. This combo causes huge amounts of permanent damage over a long-term span. 1.1 billion teenagers are at risk for this. Furthermore, some cases of tinnitus can become so bad it drives teens into stress, depression, and even suicide (disrupting their lives in summary).

            I learnt that tinnitus, compared to hearing loss, isn’t a condition itself but a symptom of another issue (examples of underlying conditions include: hearing loss, acoustic trauma, and earwax blockage.) There are also two types of tinnitus, according to MayoClinic. The first one is called “Subjective tinnitus”. This is the kind of tinnitus that only the affected person can hear, since it’s most likely caused by some damaged hairs inside the cochlea- that can move and create electronic signals in the form of sound. The other kind called “objective tinnitus”, however, is one that an audiologist will be able to hear. This isn’t caused by damaged hairs in the cochlea, but by atherosclerosis, head and neck tumours, or high blood pressure. However, this is a very rare type of tinnitus, as they are related to blood vessel disorders. Hearing loss, on the other hand, is a condition itself, not a symptom. On top of that, once hearing damage has been made the damage is permanent-  something most people overlook. To sum it up, I feel that this is a major issue that people do not have enough awareness of compared to other major issues. Not only that, it’s one of the most easiest to prevent (as easy as lowering down the volume of an mp3 player or wearing earplugs at a concert) unless the victim has objective tinnitus (which is rare). My thinking has changed as I now start to notice the drastic effects of small actions and the preventability of huge problems later on through taking the right choices of those little decisions. And since it applies to most things, I can use it in most situations no matter how minor or how major it is, whether it be picking chocolate or vanilla ice cream to deciding lifetime lasting decisions. When it comes to health and wellness, I’ve learn’t to always make sure not to be rash, and consider the consequences of certain actions and decisions, because I know that it can compromise my health in the future.

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