So the festive season is at hand and almost every shop and every taxi will be playing on blast the latest song. This may bring enjoyment but what are the consequences of constantly playing loud music? Will these sounds affect us now or will they only start affecting us when we start having grey hairs?

We spoke to Nomvuyo Ngcobo, an Audiologist who had much to say about loud sounds and their effects on people’s hearing.

Sound can be described as speech and noise. On a daily basis, we hear sound in our environment like cars, appliances in the home setting, the radio and also the television. It is expected that these are at safe levels for our ears. Too much of loud sounds, even in a short space of time may lead to temporary or permanently damaged ears/ hearing loss.

A noise-induced hearing loss is the second most common occupational illness (Rabinowitz, 2000). It has become a significant social, occupational and public health problem. However, this type of hearing loss is 100% preventable.Listening to loud music, over a long period of time may lead to ears being unable to perceive soft sounds. This can be described as the degeneration of your ears. A lot of young adults and teenagers are unaware that listening to loud music in the club, at a party and with earphones repeatedly can lead to a noise-induced hearing loss.

Signs of damaged ears due to noise can be described as the inability to understand speech, and always having to  turn up the volume of the television for you to hear or understand. Ringing in the ears is also a sign of a hearing caused by exposure to loud sounds/noise. This is known as tinnitus. You may also experience buzzing. If you are experiencing any of these signs, it is important for you to contact your nearest audiologist, which can be found at hospitals, community health centers and assessment centers.