Report: Loud Music Can Cause Lung Collapse

Amy Norton of Reuters Health reports: Blasting music can be hard on the ears and the neighbors, and now researchers say it can also pack enough punch to collapse a lung.

Reporting in the medical journal Thorax, they describe the cases of four young men who suffered a lung collapse — technically called pneumothorax — that appeared to be triggered by loud music. Three of the men were at a concert or club when the pneumothorax occurred, while the fourth was in his car, which was outfitted with a 1,000-watt bass box because he "liked to listen to loud music."

A pneumothorax occurs when a small rupture in one of the lungs allows air to leak into the space between the lungs and the chest wall, causing the lung to collapse. Symptoms include breathlessness and chest pain on the affected side.

A small, partial collapse may resolve on its own, but more severe cases may require the insertion of a chest tube to allow the air to escape the chest cavity.

Often, an underlying lung disease or chest injury is the culprit in pneumothorax. But so-called primary spontaneous pneumothorax happens in the absence of an underlying disease, typically striking tall, thin, male smokers. Read more.

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