Teaching about the Dangers of Loud Music with InteracSon’s Hearing Loss Simulation Platform

Jérémie Voix – Jeremie.Voix@etsmtl.ca

École de technologie supérieure, Université du Québec, Montréal, Québec, H3C 1K3, Canada

Rachel Bouserhal, Valentin Pintat & Alexis Pinsonnault-Skvarenina
École de technologie supérieure, Université du Québec

Popular version of 1pNSb12 – Immersive Auditory Awareness: A Smart Earphones Platform for Education on Noise-Induced Hearing Risks
Presented at the 186th ASA Meeting
Read the abstract at https://eppro02.ativ.me/web/index.php?page=Session&project=ASASPRING24&id=3673898

–The research described in this Acoustics Lay Language Paper may not have yet been peer reviewed–

Ever thought about how your hearing might change in the future based on how much and how loudly you listen to music through earphones? And how would knowing this affect your music listening habits? We developed a tool called InteracSon, which is a digital earpiece you can wear to help you better understand the risks of losing your hearing from listening to loud music trough earphones.

In this interactive platform, you can first select your favourite song, and play it through a pair of earphones at your preferred listening volume. After providing InteracSon with the amount of time you usually spend listening to music, it calculates the “Age of Your Ears”. This tells you how much your ears have aged due to your music listening habits. So even if you’re, say, 25 years old, your ears might be like they’re 45 years old because of all that loud music!

Picture of the “InteracSon” platform during calibration on an acoustic manikin. Photo by V. Pintat, ÉTS/ CC BY

To really demonstrate what this means, InteracSon provides you with an immersive experience of what it’s like to have hearing loss. It has a mode where you can still hear what’s going on around you, but it filters sounds based on what your ears might be like with hearing loss. You can also hear what tinnitus, a ringing in the ears, sounds like, which is a common problem for people who listen to music too loudly. You can even listen to your favorite song again, but this time it would be altered to simulate your predicted hearing loss.

With more than 60% of adolescents listening to their music at unsafe levels, and nearly 50% of them reporting hearing-related problems, InteracSon is a powerful tool to teach them about the adverse effects of noise exposure on hearing and to promote awareness about how to prevent hearing loss.