An article in Times Online
was drawn to my attention today.
“The Times January 04, 2006
Headphones deafen you, Who star tells iPod fans
By Adam Sherwin, Media Reporter
THE WHO’s guitarist Pete Townshend has warned the iPod generation to turn the volume down, after revealing that increasing deafness may force him into retirement.
Townshend, 60, famed for his guitar-smashing escapades, said that he had been unable to complete recording sessions for a new Who album because of the irreparable hearing loss he has suffered. “I have terrible hearing trouble,” he said. “I have unwittingly helped to invent and refine a type of music that makes its principal proponents deaf.”
Writing on his website, Townshend said that excessive volume at the group’s explosive 1960s concerts was not the cause. He blamed the earsplitting sounds emitted through studio headphones during years of recording.
He warned the users of iPod headphones: “My intuition tells me there is terrible trouble ahead. The downside [to downloading] . . . may be that we use earphones at almost every stage of interaction with sound.”
Noise-induced hearing loss is caused when the delicate hair nerves of the ear suffer continuing trauma from loud sound vibrations. Users of portable music players are advised to limit listening to one hour a day and keep the volume down, but research found that four out of ten young adults listened for longer. Apple iPods sold in Britain comply with EU volume standards and can play only at up to 104 decibels.
Musicians are particularly vulnerable to hearing loss. Phil Collins, 54, has suffered a 60 per cent hearing loss and the American rapper Foxy Brown, 26, is to undergo an operation to restore her hearing after going almost totally deaf.
Townshend said that work with Roger Daltrey on the first studio album from The Who for 25 years and plans for a world tour this year had been delayed because “my ears are ringing, loudly”. Although he can still hear speech, he has to take a 36-hour break between bouts of recording to allow his ears to recover. Beethoven continued composing despite losing his hearing but Townshend finds recording impossible at times. Describing an attempt over Christmas, he wrote: “With my hearing rolling off severely now at around three or four kilohertz, I don’t have much luck with high harmonics or piano overtones. Needless to say, I didn’t finish what I started.
“Hearing loss is a terrible thing because it cannot be repaired. Music is a calling for life. You can write it when you’re deaf, but you can’t hear it or perform it.”
About 4.7 million Britons, one in ten adults, are estimated to suffer from tinnitus. Good quality earplugs can reduce the noise level by up to 20 decibels at a rock concert.
Townshend blamed the “often accidental buzzes, shrieks and poor connections that cause temporary high-level sounds” in recording studio headphones for his plight. Barbra Streisand also suffers from tinnitus and Peter Stringfellow has to wear a hearing aid as a result of years spent in noisy nightclubs.
Townshend also disclosed that the late John Entwistle, The Who’s bassist, played out of time at concerts because he too couldn’t hear properly.
For information on protecting your hearing contact the RNID 0808 8080123 or access http://www.dontlosethemusic.com”
I have to admit that the naughty part of me, bearing in mind that I live in a terraced house, hopes that my neighbour will very soon acquire this affliction and give up any ideas of becoming a DJ!! ooooooooops!