by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
Did you know that loud music can blow out your lungs? It’s true. I recently came across a scary news item entitled “Loud music lung collapse warning” (1). It explains the cases of 4 young men that literally blew their lungs apart from being too close to big loudspeakers when they were playing loud music.
One man was driving around in his boom box car—with a 1,000 watt “bass box”. Another man was standing next to a loudspeaker in a club. A third man was standing near several large loudspeakers while attending a pop concert. The fourth man blew out his lungs, not just once, but several times, while attending heavy metal concerts. (Talk about a slow learner!) These are just a few of the many people that have damaged their lungs from being too close to loudspeakers.
These four men suffered what is called a “pneumothorax” or “collapsed lung” in lay terms. A pneumothorax is when air gets into the space between the lungs and the membrane that covers them when breaks occur in the lung walls. Doctors think that the intense pulses of low-frequency, high-energy sound causes the lungs to rupture.
Since these loud sound waves are bursting people’s lungs, imagine the damage they are doing to the sensitive structures in their ears. These people are foolishly sentencing themselves to a lifetime of unrelenting tinnitus, and ever-increasing hearing loss.
Unfortunately, they don’t seem to care because they are clueless, or think they are invincible.
Don’t be like them. As a minimum, when in places where loud music is played, keep well back from the big loudspeakers and wear ear protectors. It’s that important to your physical and aural health!
(1) Loud music lung collapse warning. BBC News. August 31, 2004.