DEAR ABBY: I am begging you to have a medical health professional address this problem.
We were at a music festival last night, and sitting near us in front of the amplifier was a young mother with an infant who appeared to be about 5 weeks old. She was there for five hours!
I voiced my concern to a woman with her who said, "You can't tell her anything." I then spoke to a security guard, asking him to suggest that she move to the rear, away from those killer sound systems. No luck.
I'm ashamed to say that I did not go up and tell her to get away and save her child's poor little ears. So, I am begging you to print something about destroying children's hearing. I know some adults are plain stupid in this matter, but that infant had no choice. -- EXASPERATED IN WILKES-BARRE, PA.
DEAR EXASPERATED: I took your letter to Dr. Allen Senne, director of audiology at the famous House Ear Clinic. This is what he had to say, and I hope parents will heed it:
"Any noise in excess of 85 decibels -- that's about as loud as a power lawn mower -- is damaging to the human ear. That's why OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines prohibit workers from working in areas where they're exposed to noise greater than 85 decibels for an extended period of time.
"Children are at least as susceptible to the effects of noise exposure as adults. In fact, professionals in the field of audiology are now seeing an increase in the incidence of younger people demonstrating hearing loss due to noise exposure from listening to iPods, Walkmans and other in-ear receivers because the digital sound produced by these devices can be played at louder levels without distortion.
"A typical music concert is amplified 110 to 120 decibels, which is significantly beyond any damage risk criteria, and has the potential for causing irreversible hearing problems. THIS CAN BE THE RESULT OF A ONE-TIME EXPOSURE.
"In fact, I recently treated a boy from Texas who had lost his hearing in one ear because he wanted to be close to the music and stood directly in front of an amplifier at a rock concert. That was a one-time exposure, so draw your own conclusions."