PETALING JAYA – Malaysia is getting noisier and people as young as12 have been found to be suffering from impaired hearing because ofthe loud environment. Private hearing care centre Bay Audio Malaysia tested about 4,000Malaysians at roadshows since January and discovered that one-thirdof people who took a five-minute hearing test showed hearing lossranging from mild to severe. Most of them are above 55, but we also saw teenagers as young as 14showing early signs of hearing loss, said senior audiologist MrAndrew Campbell. They are not the youngest victims. Water Sprayground
Consultant Ear, Nose and Throatsurgeon Dr K. Gopalan Nair saw three youngsters aged 12 and 13 withimpaired hearing this year. Their parents brought them to me because they no longer respondwhen they are called. Their parents had to shout, said Dr Gopalan, who practises at theLum Wah Ee Hospital in Penang. Last year, Dr Gopalan saw at least 10 teenagers with similarproblems. China Fiberglass Water Slides
If these teenagers do not realise that they are damaging theirhearing by listening to their mp3 players or iPods at loud volumes,they might require hearing aids when they reach the age of 30 or40, Dr Gopalan said. Dr Gopalan also said nerves damaged due to prolonged exposure toloud noise may lead to tinnitus a symptom marked by the hearing ofringing sounds in your ears. But noise-induced hearing loss is not only due to loud music frommp3 players or iPods. Experts say the world that we live in todayis simply noisier. Spray Park Equipment Manufacturer
Mr Campbell, who took sound measurements from a few localnightclubs, has recorded sound levels as high as 110dB (decibels)to 123dB louder than hand drills and power saws. Its only safe to be in such an environment for less than 15min, MrCampbell said. A check by The Star using a mobile application created by TheSwedish Work Environment Authority around the city recorded highlevels of noise blaring from speakers at night markets (about 94dB)and even on trains (as high as 110dB) combined with the screechingof the coaches on track. According to occupational health doctor Dr Abed Onn, more youngpeople are showing signs of early hearing loss even before theystart working in noisy factories and other workplaces.
Although little formal study has been done on noise-induced hearingloss in Malaysia, Dr Abed said many young people have shown earlysigns of the ailment when they were tested before starting work inworkplaces clearly defined as noisy. Dr Abed believes that hearing loss is one of the top threeoccupational diseases in Malaysia alongside lower back pain andupper limb muscular disorders. The damage done to the hearing system is irreversible, and hearingloss is harder to correct the longer it is left untreated, MrCampbell said. He also said the safe levels for those who use headphones to listento music is less than 60 per cent of the maximum volume for an houra day.