Saturday, July 21, 2007

Toxic Noise

Honestly, I have never really put those two words together... "toxic" and "noise."
Until I read a great column by Dr. Bernadine Healy in US News & World Report last week.  It's titled, "Stop the Decibel Damage."
I've always been sensitive about noise - refusing to let my children wear headphones until they're at least teenagers, turning down the volume of my Bluetooth headset as low as possible.  I think it stemmed from reading something years ago about a man deep in the Asian jungles who had perfect hearing at an old age - 90's I think.  The author drew the conclusion that it was because he wasn't exposed to the noise of modern society.
But I've never thought of noise as toxic.
After reading her article, I thought about it when I vacuumed my basement last night with my four children in the room - shouting to be heard above the noise giving instructions on what to move where - I thought, "I'm killing my hearing, and theirs, by vacuuming here."  Yikes.
She does give some hope though.
She quotes Neurobiologist Josef Miller as saying a combination of vitamins A, C and E, plus magnesium taken before noise exposure protects the inner ear from damage for up to 72 hours after the exposure. 
I'm not going to remember to down some vitamins before my ears are assaulted - let alone remember to remind my children of the same.
I guess that prevention is the best medicine here.  Daily doses of antioxidants to protect my hearing - and my childrens' - certainly would be helpful - and probably protect a lot more than just our hearing.

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