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'hearing loss' posts

Personal Listening Devices: Hip or Harmful?

If your child is one of the 304 million people who currently utilize an iPod, they could potentially be damaging their hearing. Research in recent years has demonstrated the startling trend that noise-induced hearing loss is on the rise, especially among children and teens.

Today, one in eight children aged 6-19 years has some degree of noise-induced hearing loss, which is twice the rate as seen in 1971. But noise isn’t a new phenomenon for kids. Historically, children have worked on farms, cut down trees, or fired guns without hearing protection. However, personal listening devices, like the iPod, are one of the most significant changes in our culture in the past 15-20 years, and they are here to stay.

Walk around the local park, ballfield, or school, and you will see numerous children and adults connected to earbuds. The extremely popular iPod has the capacity to produce an output of as much as 115 decibels at maximum volume, which is about as loud as a jet airplane taking off. At that level, it takes less than a few minutes to cause permanent damage. Of course, not everybody listens to his or her personal device at that volume. But in many instances the volume is turned up to combat background noise, and those earbuds placed directly into the ear can boost the volume as much as 6 to 9 decibels.

The damage that noise exposure causes is cumulative, permanent, and totally preventable. So what can we do?

What is this ringing noise in my ears?

Tinnitus is the perception of a sound or noise in the ear or head.  Tinnitus is commonly reported as a ringing or bell noise, but it has also been described as clicking, roaring, hissing, static and “motor” noises. Tinnitus has unique variations, and reports from those afflicted with tinnitus vary greatly in terms of the sound and volume. Most people experience tinnitus in both ears, though it may occasionally be perceived in one ear only.

Some tinnitus coping strategies include:

Advocate for your listening needs!

Assertive listening strategies for those with hearing loss to share with others to facilitate communication.

Hearing loss is “invisible,” and those around you may not realize that you are missing part or all of a conversation. Acknowledging your hearing loss and educating others about your listening needs will facilitate successful communication. Many are unaware of strategies that can improve communication. Education and gentle reminders to use strategies are helpful to improve communication.

My hearing loss isn't bad enough for hearing aids, is it?

After a hearing test, it is common to have questions about the results.  One that is frequently asked is “My hearing loss isn’t bad enough for hearing aids, is it?” In fact one young man asked me that very question today that made me want to share my answer here. This is a great question!  Read on for my answer.

What are some signs of hearing loss?

Hearing loss has been called an “invisible” health condition, as there are no outward physical signs associated with it. Hearing loss can occur gradually, often making it difficult to be aware of hearing loss if and when it occurs. Hearing loss negatively affects quality of life, the ability to communicate with others, and the awareness of one’s environment.

You could have hearing loss if:

Hearing loss from driving a convertible: reality or myth?

 Leave it to the Brits to address such a common question with scientific rigor and analysis! Philip Michael, Niel Opie and Michael Smith, from Worcestershire Royal Hospital in the UK, published a short but information-packed article in the August edition of the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (2010;143:219-22). They looked at seven different types of convertible cars (Audi A4, Porsche 911, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Morgan Roadster, Bentley Continental GT, Toyota MR2, and a Mazda MX5) driving at 50, 60 and 70 mph with windows raised and down. They placed a noise sensor on the traffic side of the car (on the right in the UK- they drive on the wrong side of the road) and took 3 separate measurements in each condition (scientific method at work). All tests were done on similar roadways and in non-rush hour traffic to minimize data contamination.

What did they find?

SNI Grand Rounds Series 2011 - Opportunities with Implantable Hearing Technologies

Thursday, January 6, 2011
7:30am - 8:30am
Swedish Education and Conference Center, Room B
Douglas Backous, Neurotology, Otology, Swedish Neuroscience Institute

Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, attendees will have an increased ability to:

  • Discuss the options for hearing restoration using osteointegrated implants and cochlear implants
  • Describe the role of auditory brainstem implants
  • Outline the indications for cochlear implants and auditory brainstem implants (ABI)

SNI Grand Round Series is every 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month.

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