Recreational noise exposure has tripled in the last three decades. A major source of this noise is amplified music. Exposure to amplified music can result in similar auditory damage to that caused by other loud noises. Damage to the inner ear leads to elevations of hearing thresholds, characteristically a loss in higher frequencies. An acquired hearing loss due to amplified music can be referred to as a recreational noise-induced hearing loss.
Prevention of recreational hearing loss begins with improving awareness about the risk of amplified music. In order to assess the risk perceptions of young people attending music events, a descriptive design involving a quantitative risk-perception survey was conducted at five music events. Dosimetry measurements were performed in order to describe the sound pressure levels.
This investigation provided information regarding the influence of demographics on the perception of risk. It was suggested that women, older age groups, and those from a higher socio-economic status (SES) are more likely to identify themselves as more susceptible to auditory-specific symptoms. The demographics of the population that showed greater propensity for risk was males, those aged 18 to 20 years, those in Matric, homemakers and individuals from a lower income group. These individuals may perceive themselves as invulnerable to negative consequences. Furthermore, majority of those who attend music events have never used earplugs; with only a third of them willing to make use of hearing protection if it were stipulated by law.
Concern about one’s own hearing and awareness of other auditory symptoms could be associated with greater compliance to hearing protection. In order to promote healthy hearing behaviour among young people, it is crucial to account for differences in risk perceptions. The findings in this investigation are valuable in terms of the development of recreational hearing health risk preventative strategies.
Keywords: noise-induced hearing loss, recreational, risk perceptions, gender, age, education, socio-economic status, hearing protection
Dissertation (MCommPath)--University of Pretoria, 2015.