Most of us LOVE loud music. Loud music can mean high energy, fun and excitement. Cranking up the volume stimulates the brain in the pleasure center. It raises the intensity of the experience – whether it is on the dance floor, working out or at a concert. Here’s why:
Loud music is a stimulant. Loud music increases the heart rate and body temperature just like caffeine, exercise and alcohol. Studies show that loud music improves exercise performance by increasing endurance, power and strength. Look at everyone in the gym with earbuds!
Loud music relieves stress. Listening to music is a form of “de-stressor”. A small organ in the inner ear links directly to the pleasure centers in the brain. Loud music stimulates the release of endorphins from this connection. This tiny ear organ (called the sacculus) is responsible for our enjoyment of music!
Music evokes emotions. There are strong connections in the brain between our emotions and the interpretation of sound. Our brains release dopamine at peak moments in songs. When we listen to a song we already know, the anticipation of favorite passages also releases dopamine. This is why we get emotional with the songs you love!
Loud music “drowns out” the world. Blocking out the world can feel necessary sometimes. Loud music masks other sounds in the immediate surroundings. Loud music overwhelms the other senses similar to alcohol or drugs and changes our state of mind. Our focus changes. We focus less on other things when listening to loud music. This allows us to enjoy “the moment” and the emotions of the music!
We like loud music because it changes our mood and behavior. Excess produces hearing damage. Moderation is best to prevent hearing disability.
For thoughts on social consequences of hearing disability, contact our Audiologist , Dr. Anita Carroll.
Smoke alarms can usually be heard while we are awake. But will it wake you up when you are sleeping?
When we are sleeping, sounds need to be louder to startle us awake and respond. In fact – it needs to be as much as 40 dB louder for a person to wake up! Eventually, it may awaken you – but will it be in time to respond and exit safely in an emergency?
As we age, the ability to hear high-pitched sounds decreases. While this may not impair your daily communication, it slows down your arousal and response for you to safely exit. Smoke alarm signals are in this high-pitched range of hearing that decreases with age.
While you may hear the smoke alarm – you will not be STARTLED to awaken from a sound sleep. Combined with the TWO minute timeline for a fire to overtake a home, this illustrates the danger for those with hearing loss, sound sleepers and sleep apnea machines. By the time you awaken from a “far away” sound, the fire may have progressed too far for a safe exit.
Here are the facts:
- It’s about fast AWAKENING and having enough time to escape!
- Majority of residential fire fatalities occur between 11 pm and 7 am when mosts people are sleeping.
- 50% of adults with even Mild hearing loss DO NOT wake up to a smoke alarm.
- Children, handicapped individuals, and heavy sleepers are slower to awaken and also impacted.
- A lower frequency 520 Hz smoke alarm signal is the most effective signal for waking adults with hearing loss, heavy sleepers and handicapped individuals – waking 92%.
This is about SAFETY and important for everyone to consider! Contact our Audiologist for recommendations on smoke alarm options for those with apnea, decreased hearing, and sound sleepers.
Why Can’t I Understand Accents?
Accents can affect hearing and understanding conversations. Do you avoid conversations with someone who has an accent? Do you struggle with understanding regional or foreign accents? Many blame the accent but it may just be your hearing!!
Accents and hearing
Miscommunication is easy within any region or language. Especially with those who have a different manner of speaking. Understanding accents is difficult for all but can be more problematic when you have even a mild hearing loss. Your brain works harder to fill in the gaps because your ears are not sending complete information to the brain.
We all use our native, childhood language to help us “fill in the blank” for a missed word. This includes intonation, cadence and grammar. Typically, the conversation proceeds without a hitch! But when you have even a slight hearing loss, accents send more gaps of unfamiliar information to your brain – and is unable to make sense of what you hear.
Someone who has an accent may be speaking your language but use different sentence structure. The cadence and inflection may be different and unfamiliar. As a result, your brain is unable to “decode” what is being said. Add a slight hearing loss and this creates more gaps -making it more difficult to follow conversations.
Accents place additional stress on a weakened area of hearing. You may have a reduced region of hearing that compounds the problem for your brain.
What to do?:
- Verify and Clarify: “Just to be clear, you said that I leave from gate #25?”
- Practice: Listen to movies, podcasts, radio, TV that include accented speech. This will help your brain acclimate to different intonation and grammar patterns.
- Don’t pretend to understand: Say, “I am having trouble understanding you. Please slow down a bit so I can get it correctly.”
- Don’t hurry the conversation so it will end quickly. This is rude to the speaker.
Contact us for more suggestions or to schedule an appointment for your hearing check!
Right Ear Best for Speech – Left Ear Best for Music!
Each ear has a function! Each side of the brain handle functions differently. In fact the right and left ears process and
Right Ear, Left Ear: What’s the Difference?
handle types of sound differently. The right ear is generally better for interpreting speech, while the left ear is better for interpreting music.
It has to do with how our brains process information. Although the left and right sides of the brain are similar, they have different functions. Sounds that enter into our RIGHT ear cross over to the left side of the brain which is the analytical part of the brain. It is better at following rapid rhythms of speech.
The LEFT ear dominates in following prolonged tones such as in music. Sounds that enter into our left ear cross over to the right brain – which is the creative and emotional side of the brain. This is why music often evokes an emotional response.
Can’t comprehend someone in a crowded room? Lean in with your RIGHT ear! It sends messages to your left brain which is better at analyzing speech patterns.
Want to pick out the lyrics of a new song:? Listen with your LEFT ear! It sends messages to your right brain which is better at analyzing music.
Bottom line: Use your RIGHT ear for voices and your LEFT ear for music.
Want to dig deeper into how your brain hears? Contact our Audiologist who coaches individuals for accurate hearing in their careers at meetings, group conferences and noisy restaurants.
Lucia Bar Italiano, Durham, NC, Saturday, November 7, 2015, 7:30 pm
Decibel Reading: 79 dB Sound Equivalent: City Traffic
Conversation: Raised Voices Necessary
Comments: Restaurant noise interferes with conversation. Lucia’s is a delightful open area restaurant with very high ceilings and wide expanse of windows reflecting on mirrors – all of which create poor acoustics for conversation. The open bar created additional noise that echoed throughout the dining area. When asked for a quiet location, we were seated in a corner booth away from the bar and center tables. Yet, even though we were in a corner booth, it was difficult to hear each other. Frequent repetitions were necessary along with raised voices. We were there to celebrate an event, yet could not engage each other in meaningful conversation. Enjoyed the food but would recommend going at a less busy time if you desire conversation.