Modern noise risks and their trivialization
We live in a world that attacks the organ of hearing on a daily basis. However, our ear accompanies us for a lifetime and the sensory cells, which number several thousand, do not grow back once destroyed.
Noise pollution is everywhere :
• Urban aggressions (horns, motorcycles), aggressions by the noise of public works (jackhammer) which can, at any time, constitute a brutal and surprising aggression for the organ of Corti ;
• Individual noise pollution, such as walkmans, MP3 players or any music listened to too loudly or for too long at a lower intensity, which then becomes harmful to the ear ;
• Group noise pollution (concerts, discos, parties), where the intensity of the noise is not limited, if it is private or if it is a concert, which makes the aggression much more dangerous ;
• Firecrackers, fireworks, shooting, etc.
• Indoor sports, refectories, closed swimming pools, etc.
Our world is nothing but noise. A noise that has become part of life and, therefore, commonplace. However, the sensory cells, whose cilia are set in motion by sound vibrations and which transform the movement of the cilia into a nervous signal – itself translated by the brain into sound – are very quickly altered by these incessant aggressions (see the article on the ear and its auditory function). Tinnitus or hypersensitivity to noises of normal intensity (painful hyperacusis) are warning signs to which attention should be paid, but sometimes they are already signs of hearing damage, confirmed by an audiogram performed by the specialist.
Each cell responds to a given frequency
The ones closest to the base of the cochlea (snail-shell shaped hearing organ, whose diameter decreases over two and a half turns of the spiral), adjoin the oval window of the middle ear and respond preferentially to high frequencies.
The ones closest to the top respond to low frequencies. More distant anatomically from the oval window, they will be less attacked on the sound plan. This is why loud sounds affect the high frequencies in priority.
Moreover, there as elsewhere, the ear, according to the individuals, has a clean susceptibility.
- Repeated listening to music at a sound level higher than 85dB leads to premature aging of the inner ear ;
- The threshold of danger, appears for intensities of the order of 90dB ;
- The threshold of pain at 120 dB ;
- The authorized sound limit in discotheques is 105 dB.
But what does this mean ? Will we have the same sound aggression in front of a loudspeaker or in the room, at a distance from these same loudspeakers ? Of course not !
What should be done to avoid these sound traumas ?
The precaution must be early in life and permanent. This means that one must get used to the idea of keeping in one’s pocket (like one’s Smartphone), hearing aids that one would put on at the slightest unpredictable sound aggression (in the street for example) and even better before than during, when one is walking or circulating in an environment that can be called “hostile”. This in no way exonerates the individual from personally taking the usual precautions for sounds that are deliberately listened to (walkman, disco, etc.)
Finally, we also point out that recent studies advise increasing the intake of foods rich in vitamin A and vitamin E for their antioxidant virtues.
- For Vitamin A : carrots of course, but more generally: sorrel, spinach, dandelions, dried apricots and all kinds of liver (fish or land animals). This list is not exhaustive.
- For vitamin E : dried apricot again and more globally many oils and dried fruits.
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