Pump up the volume?

"Can weekly exposure to high volumes reduce the level of hearing in young people?"

Weekly exposure to high volumes, such as listening to loud music, discotheques and rock concerts, can reduce the level of hearing in young people. (photo credit: MCT)
Weekly exposure to high volumes, such as listening to loud music, discotheques and rock concerts, can reduce the level of hearing in young people.
(photo credit: MCT)
I attended the end-of-year concert of my 10-yearold grandson, who plays electric guitar in a music school that creates ensembles of rock-music instruments.
The volume was so high that my chest pounded with the vibrations, and I had to leave the room for the other pupils’ performances.
I returned with my fingers in my ears and sat in the last row so I could be present when my grandson’s ensemble performed. Only one other woman left with me, but there were parents who sat throughout with fingers in their ears.
The children practice every week, exposing them to very high volumes of keyboard, percussion, electric guitar and bass instruments.
Upon telling my son, a physician and jazz musician who sat through the concert, that the noise was intolerable, he said: “It wasn’t so loud; I’ve been to concerts where the volume is much higher. Besides, you get used to it.” My daughter-in-law also said she enjoyed the concert.
I suggested to my son that perhaps next season he take his son for a hearing examination in September and another in June, to see if there was any hearing loss over the year.
Does the Health Ministry have a policy of inspecting private music schools and conservatories, limiting the decibel level permitted in teaching youngsters? In professional orchestras, many instrumentalists wear earplugs, especially those who sit near the brass section. Can weekly exposure to high volumes reduce the level of hearing in young people? – J.S., Kfar Saba
Prof. Jean-Yves Sichel, director of the ear, nose, throat and neck surgery department at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, comments: The answer is an unequivocal YES! There is such a danger, and we see more and more cases of damaged hearing in young people who are exposed to very loud noise from going to discotheques and rock concerts, and listening to smartphones and other music players.
I know the government has set limitations on noise levels at weddings with a switch-off mechanism when the decibels get too high, but judging from the noise at such events, I believe the regulations are not enforced.
I am not aware of any law for supervision of music schools.
There is no doubt that it’s worthwhile for the public to become aware of the problem, because there is no treatment for existing damage to hearing. The only treatment is preventive.
Judy Siegel-Itzkovich adds: The Health Ministry says that supervision of facilities with excess noise does not fall under its purview – rather, it is under the Environmental Protection Ministry.
Some 30 years ago, my mother, who is now 89 years old, had an operation to correct a prolapsed uterus.
Now, it has returned.
Two doctors told her that as she had the operation before, it would be dangerous for her to undergo the surgery a second time. She has a pacemaker, but I do not think it would affect the operation, and it was not the reason given for refusal.
Both doctors fitted her with a vaginal pessary. The first one was not good, and she is now awaiting another size, but surely an operation would be more helpful for her – as a pessary has to be changed every three months, and can cause ulcers and other problems.
I would like to know why her having a second prolapse operation is supposedly dangerous.
– E.N., Givat Shmuel
Prof. Amnon Brzezinski, director of the Women’s Health Center at Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem, answers: Uterine prolapse occurs when pelvic floor muscles and ligaments stretch and weaken, providing inadequate support for the uterus. The uterus then slips down into or protrudes out of the vagina.
Uterine prolapse can happen to women of any age, but often affects post-menopausal women who have had one or more vaginal deliveries. Damage to supportive tissues during pregnancy and childbirth, estrogen loss, the effects of gravity and repeated straining over the years all can weaken women’s pelvic floor and lead to uterine prolapse.
A vaginal pessary is a removable device placed into the vagina designed to support areas of pelvic organ prolapse.
They are made of rubber, plastic or silicone-based material and have to be replaced periodically.
A second operation in the same area is always more difficult because of the formation of adhesions (scar tissue) after the first operation. At her age of 89, any operation should be very carefully considered. Your mother should see an experienced uro-gynecologist.
Rx for Readers welcomes queries from readers about medical problems. Experts will answer those we find most interesting.
Write Rx for Readers, The Jerusalem Post, POB 81, Jerusalem 91000, fax your question to Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at (02) 538-9527, or e-mail it to jsiegel@jpost.com, giving your initials, age and place of residence.