Saturday, March 12, 2011

Turning Up Your Headphones May Lead to Difficulty Distinguishing Background Noises

I'm back and finally getting settled into the house. We have furniture, food, and Internet - as well as a pile of boxes to unpack tucked away in the garage. For more on our house, feel free to check out my personal blog at Meginsanity. By the way, anyone have any recommendations for a visual smoke alarm?

From Flickr user Meredith_Farmer
Today I saw an interesting article over at Medical News Today concerning hearing loss and music players. It's not the same old story, though, concerning whether or not hearing is affected by listening to music through headphones. It has to do with the "vividness of sounds" - how easy it is to discriminate sounds, particularly in a loud setting, such as a restaurant.

A study in Japan took a look at two groups of young adults. One group was typical and the other group usually listened to music at full blast. They were asked to watch a movie and pick out a particular frequency from the background noise. Those who often listened to loud music were less able to do so than others. This kind of loss goes unrecognized in typical hearing tests and people may seem to have normal hearing while nonetheless being unable to distinguish background noise.

One of the doctors who worked on the study, Dr. Hidehiko Okamoto, says it makes more sense to use technology like noise cancellation rather than simply turn up the volume when you're in a noisy place and listening to music.


  1. I wonder if hearing aids or CI, especially hearing aids since its job is to ampify, have the same effects. It would explain the simulation overload and inability to listen well after being in a noisy place like school and why I prefer one in one conversation in a quiet room.

  2. great article, and i agree on it plus it can lead to a possible hearing loss and hearing difficulties in the future. Thanks for posting this informative article.


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