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Researchers from Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, studied hearing test results from 3,316 children ages 9-11. The findings were published in JAMA Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. The results showed that children listening to music with earbuds and headphones may significantly increase their risk of noise-induced hearing loss.
Data from parent questionnaires about hearing complaints from their children, was also used. They were asked how frequent their children used these devices and how high the children set the volume. The results showed that 14.2% of the children had some degree of high-frequency hearing loss.
Children using earbuds and headphones just one or two days a week, no matter how high or how low, were more than twice as likely to have hearing loss than children who did not use these devices.
Lead author Carlijn le Clercq of Erasmus University Medical Center concludes, “Although we cannot conclude from this study that music players caused these hearing losses, it shows that music exposure might influence hearing at a young age.”
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Why churches notoriously have poor acoustics…
Churches are usually large, with very high ceilings and a large volume of space. Add to that the fact that most churches are constructed of hard – walled materials such as stone, cement, plaster, marble, and glass. The ceilings are usually peaked which gives a megaphone effect. This can create annoyingly loud spots and / or acoustically “dead” spots.
So when a pastor speaks at a large church, the sound bounces off multiple hard surfaces. The prolongation of the voice caused by multiple reflections is called reverberation. Reverberation time can be measured: large churches have a large reverberation time. This lengthy reverberation time “smears” speech by eliminating the stops or gaps in speech that allows us to recognize the beginnings and endings of words. This is why it is so difficult to understand the sermon. To complicate this even more, any noise generated by talking, coughing, by babies crying, and the like adds to the overall noise level to further degrade the speech of the presenter.
In church, the best solution is a hearing loop system. A hearing loop encircles the congregation’s seating area with a cooper wire. Hearing aids equipped with a telecoil (which can be activated by pushing your program button) will pick up the sound that is plugged into the loop area, which should be the speaker or musician coming through the microphone. This provides direct-to-your-ear sound delivery and avoids the noise and reverberation that degrades the speech message.
Arkansas Loops a division of Saline Audiology can do a free site survery and demo for your church. Contact us if you have questions about a loop system or want to set up a survey. 501-778-3868