June 14, 2024

The soft and occasional crowing of a rooster or two in the early hours of the morning gently announce a new day is coming and gently rouse us from sleep. But the incessant crowing of a bunch of roosters – morning, noon, and night is a different story. It means being exposed to harmful noise that can cause irreversible loss of hearing.
Excessive noise can affect our ability to hear. Loud noise causes hearing loss through mechanical damage to the delicate cochlear structures in the inner ear. Loud noise can also cause metabolic overload due to oversti-mulation of the inner ear. Metabolic overload is characterized by excess production of the substance nitric oxide which can damage the hair cells in the inner ear, generation of oxygen-free radicals that become toxic to the ear membranes, and low magnesium and intracellular calcium levels that cause weakening of hair cells inside the ears.
The intensity of a sound is measured in decibels (dB). Noise higher than 70 dB over a prolonged period of time can damage the ears. Noise above 120 dB can cause immediate harm. Rooster crow can be 130 dB. The record crow was 143 dB – equal to the sound produced by a jet taking off. Hearing loss can result from a single loud sound near the ears, or over time from damage incurred through repeated or prolonged exposure.
What are the other common sources of noise that we may be exposed to?
City traffic (inside a vehicle) 80 to 85 dB;
Motorcycle engine running 95 dB;
Car horn at five meters 100 dB;
Personal listening device at maximum level, loud radio or TV, nightclubs, bars and rock concerts 105 to 110 dB;
Shouting in the ear 110 dB – hearing loss possible in less than two minutes;
Standing beside sirens 120 dB – hearing loss, pain, ear injury; and
Firecrackers 140 to 150 dB hearing loss, pain, ear injury.
It is said that if you have to raise your voice to be heard at an arm’s length, the sound intensity in the area is likely greater than 85 dB and damage to your hearing can occur over time.
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the United States show that one in four adults aged 20 to 69 years old have evidence of noise-induced hearing loss.
Hearing loss occurs with aging. One type of hearing loss, the so-called sensorineural type that involves the inner ear, the delicate structure called cochlea, or the nerve responsible for hearing (auditory nerve) can be permanent. One of the causes of sensorineural hearing is presbycusis, which is characterized by progressive loss of high-frequency hearing in both ears. One is unable to hear or understand speech in a crowded environment and unable to hear high-pitched noises or voices. The person often has tinnitus described as ringing in the ears, roaring noise, or sound of bells or crickets. The degree of hearing loss is affected or hastened by loud noise.
Is your music a harmful noise to your neighbor? As one continuously looks for ways to help others, turning down loud music or bringing roosters to a suitable farm far from residential areas can be the first act of kindness and charity that one can do.

Medical questions or suggestions may be emailed to [email protected] or [email protected].