Rock concert-goers: insert ear plugs!

Photo credit: Edoardo Tommasini

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

A Tik-Tok famous general practitioner in Singapore is advising concertgoers to wear earplugs and use sunscreen. I don’t follow social media at all, but I’m glad to know that there’s useful medical advice being given to those who do. I would caution that there’s a lot of bad advice and inaccurate information on social media and the internet, whether about health care or politics. As the wording on a mug says, “Please do not confuse your Google search with my medical degree.”

Writer Jasmine Teo talks about what self-titled “Dr. Samuel” has to say on Singapore’s today news website. Dr. Samuel correctly notes that any muffled hearing or ringing in the ears indicates that auditory damage has already occurred. He also talks about which sunscreens provide the best protection.

Young people don’t worry much about aging, but healthy aging actually starts in childhood with good nutrition and development of healthy habits. Bad habits won’t necessarily cause problems during childhood, but eventually they catch up with one’s body. Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, muscle weakness, frailty and ear and skin problems are not part of normal aging but largely represent pathological aging. The major causes of abnormal or pathological aging appear to be bad diet, both in terms of quantity and quality; too little exercise; too much weight, which is determined partly by genetics but largely by diet and exercise; and exposures, like to tobacco smoke (both in smokers and in those exposed to secondhand smoke).

Other exposures include noise that causes auditory disorders and light from the sun that causes pigmentation changes, deep wrinkles and skin cancers. Hearing loss is not part of normal physiological aging, but largely represents noise-induced hearing loss.

We should all heed Dr. Samuel’s sound advice. Avoid exposure to loud noise, use earplugs or leave the noisy environment, and your ears should last a lifetime. Because if it sounds loud, it’s too loud and your auditory health is at risk.

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