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Summer festivals: no respite for the ears

21 Jun 2017 | By Inserm (Newsroom) | France


With summer comes the festival season, which begins in France on June 21, with the traditional Music Day.

It is also an opportunity to inform festival goers, and young people in particular, about the risk of hearing loss involved, especially at concerts with amplified music.

Hearing is a partnership between the ear and the brain. The ear captures sound waves and transmits the vibrations to the cochlea. The hair cells transform them into electrical signals that are transmitted to the brain via the cochlear nerve. This is where sound is processed, interpreted, and memorized.

The human ear captures sound intensities ranging from 0 to 120 dB, the level at which the structures of the inner ear can be damaged. Very high sound levels can therefore destroy the hair cells and damage the fibers of the cochlear nerve, leading to irreversible hearing loss.

There is, however, a wide range of individual tolerance to noise, with some genes in particular apparently influencing sensitivity to acoustic trauma.

This is why it is highly advisable to wear earplugs and to limit your exposure to high-intensity sounds.

The Inserm researchers working on this topic are available to answer your questions.

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Researcher Contact

Jean-Luc Puel
Directeur de recherche Inserm
Unité Inserm 1051 Institut de Neurosciences de Montpellier «Déficits sensoriels et moteurs  »
04 99 63 60 09

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