Re "Sonic Boomers: Gut-Jarring Thumping Is Music to the Ears of 'Bass Heads'--and Car Stereo Sellers," April 1:
While the level of music played by "bass heads" can be overtly a danger to one's hearing, it's music that doesn't physically knock you over that can pose a greater covert threat. In fact, music played as "softly" as 85 decibels--a level well below where many are listening to their favorite tunes--contributes significantly to permanent noise-induced hearing loss.
Every day, a myriad of seemingly innocuous sounds pose potential hazards to healthy hearing. HIP--Hearing Is Priceless--is a free, educational program to help people prevent becoming a passive victim of noise-induced hearing loss. We don't suggest eliminating noisy activities, but do recommend that one either use ear plugs, or limit the time of exposure to noise, during selected activities where one's hearing may be harmed.
JOHN W. HOUSE MD
President, House Ear Institute