A study by researchers at the Ohio State University says that regular exposure to a cacophony of sound makes a person one-and-a-half times more vulnerable to develop a tumor called as acoustic neuroma. Eventually, people with this tumor develop deafness or hearing loss due to the impingement of this tumor on the cranial nerve that is responsible for hearing and maintaining the balance of an individual.
The symptoms of this tumor are typically a loud ringing sound in the ears called as tinnitus and gradual hearing loss. These are noticed at around 50 years of age. "It doesn't matter if the noise comes from years of on-the-job exposure or from a source that isn't job-related. It's not surprising that the longer that people are exposed to loud noise, the greater their chances become for developing the tumor,' said Colin Edwards, lead researcher of the study and a doctoral student in the School of Public Health at Ohio State University.
The study tracked 146 people with acoustic neuroma and compared their findings by using 564 people without this tumor. All participants were quizzed about their exposure to sounds from motors, machinery and even screaming children. It was found that the source of a sound also played a part in the risk factor of developing this non-cancerous or non-malignant tumor. People like teachers who were exposed to screaming children and spectators at sports events were 1.3 times as likely to develop the neuroma, while workers who came into contact with power tools had a risk of 1.8 times. People who were exposed to loud music had the greatest risk at 2.5 times. The researchers add that this type of tumor accounts for 6 to 10 percent of all tumors within the skull. The details of the study appear in the online edition of the American Journal of Epidemiology.