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 Post subject: The ultimate silence......
PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:42 pm 
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When you go deaf. And it may be happening to you this very second. The main problem..... it's a habit that some find pleasurable, like smoking. The results are similar...... you gradually start to loose it, your hearing or your life.

A whole generation of deaf iPod users. Maybe you could sue Apple(edit. some people already have). They started this whole madness...along with the Sony Walkman in the past.

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Last edited by Bluefront on Wed Jun 11, 2008 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:11 pm 
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You can't start blaming corporations because of the public's lack of common sense. Infact, iPods come with a maximum volume control setting that you can customize. It doesn't seem reasonable to me that corporations should be held liable unless there is something wrong or illegal with their products. You don't see car manufacturers getting hounded to put speed limiters on their road cars to 60mph (100kph) or whatever the maximum legal speed limit is. Yes, there are speed limiters out there but are all set to something rediculous like 155mph and that is frankly, pointless.

It's time for people to start taking responsibility for their own actions instead of doing the easy thing and blaming someone else.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 5:06 pm 
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Up to a point you are quite correct. But it's kids who are most at risk, kids who may not be mature enough to see the potential problem.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 5:38 pm 
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I agree, which is why I believe the correct course of action isn't to pass blame, but rather to educate. I don't see this as any different from sex education. Solving the problem at its root instead of patching it seems to make more sense.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:55 pm 
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I'm pretty sure I remember this story from 25 years ago, when the Walkman was becoming ubiquitous. Something tells me similar stories were rampant in the 70s and 60s as kids were using headphones to listen to their turntables. It takes about 75% volume before an iPod is even coherent over the noise inside the cabin of a moving jet airplane. I guess all the business people flying 100+ hours/year have permanently damaged their hearing, but I don't hear anyone warning about this danger of air travel. The loudest "normal" thing I have ever heard is a cruiser style motorcycle, yet most riders of these types of bikes typically wear the helmets that don't even cover one's ears. I don't believe Harleys come with any warning about wearing hearing protection while operating, although they probably should . . .


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:00 pm 
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Heck even driving at highway speed causes tinitis/ringing of the ears. Music playing at "acceptable levels" on teh highway, are way too loud first thing in the morning as you pull out of the driveway.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 2:10 am 
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There's one thing you're missing......external noises are not nearly as dangerous to your hearing, as the same noise from an ear-bud, or a head-phone. An ear doctor will have to explain that one....but it's true. And I think the popularity if the IPod among kids today, is far greater than the older walkman-types, ever were.

Crank up the volume of an iPod to cover up ambient noise.....bad practice.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:34 am 
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Quote:
It takes about 75% volume before an iPod is even coherent over the noise inside the cabin of a moving jet airplane. I guess all the business people flying 100+ hours/year have permanently damaged their hearing,


noise-cancelling ear/headphones are ubiquitous and affordable. a business person flying 100+hrs/yr can probably afford top-of-the-line Bose QuietComfort cans, so their hearing is probably better than yours. :wink:

Quote:
There's one thing you're missing......external noises are not nearly as dangerous to your hearing, as the same noise from an ear-bud, or a head-phone.


This sounds like hokum to me. noise is noise, pressure waves hitting the eardrum, its the intensity of the pressure wave that causes the damage. I'm 100% certain standing next to a jackhammer without ear defenders is just as harmful to your hearing as listing to death metal at full volume.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:52 am 
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The "iPod" incarnation of this story has been doing the rounds for a few years now and is one of those articles that tends to crop up on slow news days.

It's an indisputable fact that loud noise damages your hearing, but as an industrialised society we've been doing that to ourselves in a great many ways for over two centuries. Because the iPod is so ubiquitous, this story is an easy one to dredge up. The bottom line is: "won't somebody please think of the children?" and that particular bottom line works every time. All they've done this time is add the word "iPod" for a bit of contemporary spin.

Besides, I thought most of the sound produced by those sh*tty white earbuds never actually made it into their wearers' ears anyway...


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:29 am 
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Here's what I know about this......Google for a different answer if you want. The inner ear has a mechanism that shuts off when it encounters loud noises.....this is a mechanical operation that involves nerves and muscles. And it cannot shut off all sound.....just a percentage.

And it takes time to do so. So.....when the origin of the loud noise is further away, the operation is more likely to be successful. When you place those ear-buds far down in the outer ear channel, loud noises are more likely to cause damage, because of the time factor......in addition to the concentration factor.

The end result......a loud speaker stuck down in your ear, is very bad for your hearing, more so than loud ambient noise. Stupid kids are going deaf because of these things.....and the evidence is coming in from all over.

Some people seem to be unaffected by loud noise of all sorts. Others start losing their hearing when very young. Read the link in the OP.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:01 am 
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Bluefront wrote:
Stupid kids are going deaf because of these things.....and the evidence is coming in from all over...Read the link in the OP.

The link in the OP (as well as the identical story it cites as its "source") quotes a survey as "evidence". For all the information it provides it could be a survey of children and young adults at any time in the last 25 years or more.

No one is denying iPods and other portable media players are the "must have" item and that prolonged listening at high levels can damage your hearing, but these players are no more "must have" than a Walkman or 'personal stereo' was in the eighties. Granted, the Walkman was slow to catch on because the technology was incredibly expensive and not very reliable to begin with, but from the late eighties onward and all through the nineties they sold millions upon millions. They sold so many that, worldwide, the cassette player became the second most common electrical item after the incandescent light bulb. Sony alone sold over 340m Walkmans - and that doesn't include Walkman radios, CD Walkmans, MD Walkmans etc. Apple only touched 100m iPod sales last year. Simply put: there is nothing new in this story. It simply states a well known fact and gives it a bit of spin.

And the kids aren't stupid. Those who don't know they are damaging their hearing are ill-educated. Those who do are simply giving in to temptation and turning it up another notch for their favourite song, or simply blasting it out for the sheer enjoyment of it. I sure as hell know better and I do it all the time. What hope has your average teenager of resisting that temptation?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:55 am 
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the worst is when kids use crummy earphones that aren't rated for that kind of power input... so all they end up hearing (along with everyone else around them) is pure distortion...

if you're going to destroy your hearing and annoy everyone else around you, at least get decent earphones/headphones that can actually put out that kind of volume without distortion...

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:01 am 
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Dead right, except more often than not it's the other way round - the earphones can take the power, but portable kit's batteries and tiny opamps can't provide the kind of current required to drive proper transient peaks, going into severe clipping and distorting badly towards the upper end of their volume scale. There are a few players that don't act like this, but they are very much in the minority. Clipped, distorted audio is bad for your player, your earphones and your hearing.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:04 pm 
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jaganath wrote:
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It takes about 75% volume before an iPod is even coherent over the noise inside the cabin of a moving jet airplane. I guess all the business people flying 100+ hours/year have permanently damaged their hearing,


noise-cancelling ear/headphones are ubiquitous and affordable. a business person flying 100+hrs/yr can probably afford top-of-the-line Bose QuietComfort cans, so their hearing is probably better than yours. :wink:

Why the the wink? I've been a business person flying 100+ hrs/year . . . Anyway, you do understand that noise canceling is done by the use of reciprocal frequency noises, right? So, you are assaulting your eardrums with relatively high energy sound waves, when using them. I've never heard any claims that noise-canceling in anyway protects your hearing (just your sanity).


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 1:20 pm 
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Quote:
Anyway, you do understand that noise canceling is done by the use of reciprocal frequency noises, right? So, you are assaulting your eardrums with relatively high energy sound waves, when using them.


yes, I do understand, it seems better than you. noise cancelling works by emitting an antiphase soundwave which destructively interferes with the incoming soundwave, thus reducing the amplitude of the wave that reaches your ears, not increasing/doubling it as you seem to believe. In an ideal world the noise cancelling wave would be 180 degrees out of phase with the incoming wave, and the amplitude of the incoming wave would be reduced to zero, but this is rarely possible given the complexities of using active noise control to reduce very high frequency noise (say above ~1kHz or so). However it works well for low frequency noises like the drone of a jet engine or the roar of a high-speed train.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 2:15 pm 
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Look.... I never said this iPod/Hearing Loss was a new finding. What does make it news-worthy, is that the facts of the matter have been known for years, and yet people still continue to use the things in a manner that is making hearing loss among young people, the norm now.

And it's like smoking..... denied as being dangerous still by some people, after decades of proof otherwise. We have laws in the USA that are suppose to deny cigarettes to people under 18 years of age...... because cigarettes are dangerous, a known health hazard. iPods are also a known health hazard.....won't kill you, just make you go deaf.

Google "iPod hearing loss" if you need more proof......

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 3:23 pm 
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Bluefront wrote:
The inner ear has a mechanism that shuts off when it encounters loud noises.....this is a mechanical operation that involves nerves and muscles. And it cannot shut off all sound.....just a percentage.

And it takes time to do so. So.....when the origin of the loud noise is further away, the operation is more likely to be successful. When you place those ear-buds far down in the outer ear channel, loud noises are more likely to cause damage, because of the time factor......in addition to the concentration factor.


That is not logical. If it takes time to shut off sound, it makes no difference as to how far the source is. It just means, the body needs some time to control the muscles etc. to block off some percentage of the noise.

The sensor which will trigger this is the ear itself, so it can only react to this event happening when the ear registers the noise. Therefor it makes no difference how far away the source is.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:40 pm 
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I don't see why the connection must discretely be made with iPods. Granted, it's arguably the most popular and successful portable player in production, but does that automatically void all other manufacturers of responsibility? Why don't we all sue Microsoft for all the data loss everyone's incurred due to an insecure operating system? When we educate ourselves about the dangers like viruses and malware, we learn to take steps to avoid such damage. The same thing applies to everything else. Education is the solution. As technology progresses, there is no doubt that it will get more complicated. If we are to get with the times, not only must technology progress, but we as a people need to evolve as well.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:25 pm 
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jaganath wrote:
Quote:
Anyway, you do understand that noise canceling is done by the use of reciprocal frequency noises, right? So, you are assaulting your eardrums with relatively high energy sound waves, when using them.


yes, I do understand, it seems better than you. noise cancelling works by emitting an antiphase soundwave which destructively interferes with the incoming soundwave, thus reducing the amplitude of the wave that reaches your ears, not increasing/doubling it as you seem to believe. In an ideal world the noise cancelling wave would be 180 degrees out of phase with the incoming wave, and the amplitude of the incoming wave would be reduced to zero, but this is rarely possible given the complexities of using active noise control to reduce very high frequency noise (say above ~1kHz or so). However it works well for low frequency noises like the drone of a jet engine or the roar of a high-speed train.

No, you are fooling yourself if you believe that effective noise power is being significantly reduced -- especially not with the Bose sets that are so popular. What actually happens is a dispersion effect. Destructive interference occurs at many frequencies, but new waves are created at many others. The net effect is that the "canceled" noises become very broadband and most component frequencies are close to the noise floor. But is the total noise power reduced? I doubt it. It could easily actually be increased. Is it no longer dangerous in such a broadband form? Maybe, but if so, why are such products not touted as being useful hearing protection?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:32 pm 
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spookmineer wrote:
Bluefront wrote:
The inner ear has a mechanism that shuts off when it encounters loud noises.....this is a mechanical operation that involves nerves and muscles. And it cannot shut off all sound.....just a percentage.

And it takes time to do so. So.....when the origin of the loud noise is further away, the operation is more likely to be successful. When you place those ear-buds far down in the outer ear channel, loud noises are more likely to cause damage, because of the time factor......in addition to the concentration factor.


That is not logical. If it takes time to shut off sound, it makes no difference as to how far the source is. It just means, the body needs some time to control the muscles etc. to block off some percentage of the noise.

The sensor which will trigger this is the ear itself, so it can only react to this event happening when the ear registers the noise. Therefor it makes no difference how far away the source is.

Keep in mind that sound does travel at a very finite speed. I think around 1,000 ft/s. So, every foot the noise source is from your head gives your muscles another millisecond to react. Are a few milliseconds enough to make a difference?


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:42 pm 
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That's not correct. It would be if your ears knew exactly when the noise is being emitted. It's just simply put, your ear reacts to noise when the sound waves reach it. It doesn't matter if I yell at you from 10cm away or from 10 miles away. Your ear (technically your brain) will only react when the sound waves reach it.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:53 pm 
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Bluefront wrote:
And it's like smoking..... denied as being dangerous still by some people, after decades of proof otherwise. We have laws in the USA that are suppose to deny cigarettes to people under 18 years of age...... because cigarettes are dangerous, a known health hazard. iPods are also a known health hazard.....won't kill you, just make you go deaf.

Google "iPod hearing loss" if you need more proof......

I find overly loud noises painful. I'm sure that's not unusual. If my iPod is too loud I turn it down. Surely if someone is willing to repress their pain response just to be cool, merely banning iPods is nowhere near enough to help them make it through life unscathed. These same kids no doubt speed, smoke, and fail to properly chew their food.

Anyway, when used correctly, iPods are not dangerous at all -- certainly not true for cigarettes. They already come packaged with a warning that listening at high volumes for prolonged periods can damage your hearing. Should there be warnings on the packaging and in advertisements -- sure, why not?

I'd also add that restricting the sale of cigarettes did very little to stem their consumption. Where I grew up you had to be 21 to buy them, yet it never seemed like a problem for the many smokers I knew in middle school(!) What really turned the tide was better education and good anti-smoking propaganda. There was an episode of every popular family show in the 70s and 80s that dealt with smoking and how it was bad. I still remember the Happy Days one pretty well. It also didn't hurt that cigarettes have become pretty damn expensive! Something tells me those god awful Truth adds just might make smoking popular again (it is no coincidence that they are paid for by the tobacco companies as part of their big class action settlement).


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:14 pm 
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widowmaker wrote:
That's not correct. It would be if your ears knew exactly when the noise is being emitted. It's just simply put, your ear reacts to noise when the sound waves reach it. It doesn't matter if I yell at you from 10cm away or from 10 miles away. Your ear (technically your brain) will only react when the sound waves reach it.

Not all such responses involve the brain, but I still agree. Hearing damage is caused by cumulative exposure. So, being farther away means less exposure time. Still, I wonder how milliseconds could really make a difference at the sound levels we are talking about.

I think the real claim is that earphones trigger a "listening to whispers" effect that causes your ear to focus and increase the effective volume. That may be true, although I have never experienced it and I use in-canal buds (the horror). Anyway, as the music starts to get louder over time (concentrating on a specific noise source certainly allows better tunning of the antenna array that is your ear) I turn down the volume to compensate. Funny how these anti-headphone people don't mention that they in no way impair the user's ability to work the volume control. All I know is that over the ear headphones make my head hot and on the ear headphones hurt my ear cartilage and I'm sure neither of those things is good for me!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:21 pm 
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If over the ear headphones make your ears hot, try open air headphones. I have a pair of Grado SR80's and they're extremely comfortable and don't even cause my ears to feel damp after hours of use. The only drawback about open air headphones is that there's a lot of noise leakage. The people around you will easily hear what you're listening to.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:36 pm 
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Bluefront wrote:
Here's what I know about this......Google for a different answer if you want. The inner ear has a mechanism that shuts off when it encounters loud noises.....this is a mechanical operation that involves nerves and muscles. And it cannot shut off all sound.....just a percentage.
This sounds like bogus to me. Are you sure that information is reliable?


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 1:29 am 
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This inner ear thing needs to be explained by an expert.....I've only listened to one and am repeating what I remember. Plus I suffered Bell's Syndrome for a month or so.....it's a nerve problem that affects (among other things) the small muscles that control the inner ear. It affects the right or left side only. So until I got over the problem, my right inner ear wasn't closing off properly when that ear encountered noises.

Normal noises like a water faucet running hurt that ear, sounding unnaturally loud and screechy. The other ear was normal.

Now... the time thing. The loud sound you may encounter doesn't arrive at the inner ear at the highest level at first.....there's a curve to the sound, giving the ear mechanism enough time to react. Now if that sound is from an ear-bud, the ear just doesn't have enough time to react until the loud sound has damaged the inner ear.....a little bit. And the damage adds up....just like smoking.

So now-days, an 18 year old kid, may have suffered as much hearing loss as a 60 year old from the past......due in no small part to this iPod type damage, which seems to be the only common factor explaining the increasing hearing loss exhibited by young people these days.

I try to make quiet computers, and live a quiet life......which includes no iPods. I'd like to retain my hearing the rest of my life.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 2:40 am 
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There seems to be a bit of confusion about the Bluefront's "ear closing off" thing. I'm no expert, but it definitely does happen, but your inner ears don't so much close off as tighten up.

Any sudden loud noise nearby, such as a fire alarm, jackhammer, music at high volume - whatever - will get through and potentially cause damage before your inner ear tensor muscles have time to react by tightening the inner ear bones (hammer/anvil/stirrup - can't remember their proper names) thereby dampening the energy reaching the sensitive cilia within your cochlea. Conversely, any loud noise which you approach or which approaches you from a distance will get perceptually louder and louder, giving your ears plenty time to adjust as the noise source gets closer and the amplitude reaches its maximum.

As previous posters have said, your ear simply cannot react before a sound reaches it and anyway a loud sound far away would simply not be loud enough to cause the reflex. It has nothing to do with the "closeness" of earphones to your eardrums or the time it takes sound to travel that distance, but everything to do with the very sudden rise in volume.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 4:39 am 
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The workings of the inner are extremely complicated, and there are many explanations/theories about the subject. So don't expect any easy answers. But the "closing off" happens very quickly, faster than an eye blink. So the further away from the noise you are, the less likely there will be damage.

What gets damaged.....tiny hair cells in the inner ear. They never grow back once they are lost.

From what I remember......a 100db noise from 6' away, is likely to cause less damage than a 100db noise from an ear-bud. Maybe somebody can find an answer/explanation other than a "time" thing.....

I'll rephrase that....A noise of 100 db that reaches your ear that originated 6' away, is less likely to cause damage than a 100db noise from an ear-bud.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 6:46 am 
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Ok, this is quoted from a "major incident" (i.e. in this case a bomb) clinical guidance article here at work (i work for the ambulance service):

Code:
"In the middle ear, the tensor tympani muscle and the stapedial muscle contract to tighten the middle ear bones (the ossicles) as a reaction to loud, potentially damaging sound. This provides protection to the inner ear from these loud sounds."


Bluefront wrote:
the "closing off" happens very quickly, faster than an eye blink. So the further away from the noise you are, the less likely there will be damage.


Your assertion does not logically follow. A protective reflex cannot pre-empt the condition to which it reacts, i.e. in this case high pressure sound waves reaching the ear. The speed of the reflex has no bearing on the likelihood of damage occurring. The reflex speed is constant; it is the sound pressure which dictates the likelihood of damage. In order for a reflex motor response to happen, the stimulus must be already present.

Bluefront wrote:
I'll rephrase that....A noise of 100 db that reaches your ear that originated 6' away, is less likely to cause damage than a 100db noise from an ear-bud.


I would agree there, but purely because sound pressure reduces (exponentially?) with distance. What you are in effect saying is what I have already said: if the sound from 6' away is 100dB at your eardrum, then at the point of origin it must have had exponentially greater power than that of the 100dB earbud 1" from your eardrum*. The earbud is only imposing 100dB at your eardrum because it is so close. 100dB at your eardrum is 100dB at your eardrum, regardless of distance to the source of that sound pressure.

* If you had your ear as close to the source of the 6' away "100dB" sound as you did to the 100dB earbud then you would experience far greater sound pressure.

Anyway sorry I'm being like a dog with a bone here!


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 6:59 am 
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This bit was meant to be in the last post...

Quote:
What gets damaged.....tiny hair cells in the inner ear. They never grow back once they are lost.


These are the cilia I mentioned in my previous post. To clarify: they do not get irreparably damaged or "die" straight away, unless the sound is fearsomely loud. In general they can recover from infrequent, short exposure to "everyday" intense sound. It takes repeated long term exposure to such noise - i.e. kicking 'em while they're down by blasting your iPod day in day out - before they become irreperably damaged.[/quote]


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