HEARING LOSS: WHAT IS
By Will Roscoe of the Dance Health Task Force
Hearing loss can be caused by exposure to loud sounds, including
amplified music. It can take the form of temporary or permanent
ringing in the ears (tinnitus) as well as short- and long-term loss
of the ability to hear clearly. Sound levels in dance clubs can
be as high as 115 decibels--as much as a sandblaster or power saw.
This level can cause damage within a few seconds. Levels as low
as 95 decibels can cause damage if you are exposed for a long period
(4 or more hours). A study in Great Britain found that 62% of
regular clubbers have symptoms of hearing loss.
The risk of hearing damage when you're dancing depends on: (1)
how loud the music is; (2) how close you are to the speakers;
(3) how long you're on the dance floor; (4) whether your hearing
has already been damaged (this increases the risk of more damage).Also,
you may be at risk if you have a family history of hearing loss.
CONSIDER THIS... * Stay at least 10 feet away from the speakers--dancing
directly in front of speakers is very risky
* Use ear plugs. Rolled up tissue paper provides NO protection.
* Don't talk on the dance floor--you can damage someone's hearing
by shouting in their ear.
* Take 30 minute breaks in an area where sound levels are lower.
* Alcohol and drugs lower your sense of pain and increase the
risk of hearing loss. Being tired and overheated also increases
risk--drink plenty of water and chill out!
* If you dance a lot or if you work in a club, consider getting
custom earplugs to protect your hearing without distorting sound
(see Links). SIGNS OF HEARING LOSS * Ringing in your ears; sensitivity
to loud noises.
* Difficulty hearing others when there is background noise.
* People sound like they're mumbling or talking too quickly.
You have to ask them to repeat themselves.
* You need to turn the volume on the TV higher than other people.
* You hear the telephone better with one ear than the other.
If you have any of these symptoms get your hearing tested. To
prevent further damage WEAR EAR PLUGS! WHAT CLUBS AND DJS CAN
* Provide chill out rooms with lower sound levels where patrons
can take breaks to protect their hearing.
* Place physical barriers that keep patrons 10-20 feet away from
speakers or lift speakers off the ground--this prevents dancers
from getting too close and it prevents sound distortion, which
can lead DJs to increase volume.
* Keep volume down--this lowers the risk of hearing damage and
makes it possible for dancers to talk without shouting.
* Post information on hearing loss prevention and provide free
HOW TO USE FOAM EAR PLUGS Earplugs must be used PROPERLY to protect
you. 1. With clean hands, roll the ear plug until it is as thin
as possible. 2. Quickly insert the tapered end all the way into
your ear. 3. Hold it in place for at least 30 seconds until it
fully expands. 4. Release the ear plug then push it in one more
time to ensure a complete fit. The bottom should be even with
the opening of your ear canal.