Hearing protection

Noise causes most hyperacusis, tinnitus, and hearing loss, so

Why Is It “Uncool” To Protect Your Hearing?

The author of the linked piece was disturbed by a tweet from “a well known rock magazine, Kerrang,” and responded, as follows:

Kerrang-Tweet-1024x762

Kerrang! Magazine did not respond to Restored Hearing’s tweet, but people in the hearing community did, which led to an interesting and thoughtful discussion about why hearing injuries are treated so dismissively when no one (presumably) would be openly snarky about injuries to sight.  After all, there is no effective cure or treatment for most hearing injuries, the consequences of which are more significant than having to ask someone to speak up.  Rather, hearing injuries can dramatically affect one’s quality of life.  As Bryan Pollard, president of Hyperacusis Research Limited, Inc., stated:

‘Hyperacusis,’ the evil spawn of tinnitus, is a word you do not want in your vocabulary or your medical history. It means that noise = pain. All it takes is one loud night out to spark a lifetime of regret.

In the end, the reason for the flippancy is a lack of education.  How many people even heard of hyperacusis or tinnitus or know what they are until and unless they or someone they know is diagnosed?  That most hyperacusis and tinnitus is noise induced, thus preventable, means we need to confront the Kerrangs of the world and explain to them that today’s snarky tweet may lead to tomorrow’s lingering regret.

Thanks to Bryan Pollard for the link.  Bryan is the founder and president of Hyperacusis Research Limited, a non-profit charity dedicated to funding research on what causes hyperacusis with the goal of developing effective treatments.

Noise causes hearing loss

Not convinced?  Then why is hearing loss more prevalent in certain occupations?  Healthy Hearing provides a list of the most dangerous occupations to hearing health: Top five occupations causing hearing loss.

As Healthy Hearing points out, “[n]o matter what the source, however, even these occupations that come with a high risk of noise related hearing loss can be made safer with proper precautions.”   It is unconscionable that industry and government are aware that these occupations are causing life altering hearing loss and neither is doing enough to stop it.

When does sound becomes noise?

Check here for upcoming screenings: In Pursuit of Silence

Hearables are the new star in the wearables world:

These wireless earbuds let you control which outside sounds to block.

If these catch on maybe people will consider that the better option is to control and limit noise for the general public rather than manage it one person at a time.

A chilling reminder that exposure to loud noise can lead to more than hearing loss

David Sikorski, senior editor at Earmilk, an online music publication, has written a must read piece for anyone who loves to listen to live music: Tinnitus, Suicides & Earplugs: Don’t be an idiot.  Sikorski states that as senior editor he has “issued a full mandatory requirement for any of our writers to wear earplugs when attending/reviewing any concert or festival on our behalf.”  Why?  Here’s his answer:

Over 700 million people around the world suffer from some form of Tinnitus or ringing in the ears. This recent flood of self-induced hearing damage from oversized studio headphones, grandiose speaker systems and silly notions carried over from ill-advised past generations – equating decibel levels to enjoyment – have created a music industry epidemic.

When it happens, it just happens. You’ll leave the vibrating walls of the after hours spot, that divey “rock n’ roll night club” or even after maxing the sub in your car to peep Slime Season 3. Suddenly, the ringing in your ear, that used to be temporary isn’t.

And yes, though rare, for some people plagued with tinnitus the “ringing in their ears becomes [so] unbearable, that death becomes the only relief.”

So how do you balance your love of live music with the need to protect your hearing?  Sikorski suggests earplugs.  We would add that musicians and music venues need to consider what they can do to stop the permanent damage they are inflicting on fans.

Thanks to Hyperacusis Research Limited for the link.  Hyperacusis Research Limited is a non-profit charity dedicated to funding research on what causes hyperacusis with the goal of developing effective treatment.

Coming to a film festival near you?

THE FILMMAKERS RECOMMEND YOU WEAR HEADPHONES TO VIEW THIS TRAILER:

The Philly Voice asks:

How do earbuds damage your hearing?

Philly Voice reporter Brandon Baker posed this question Linda Ronis-Kass, an audiologist at Penn Medicine Washington Square, “for an explanation of how listening to music at a high volume through earbuds can cause hearing loss — and potentially more.”  It’s an interesting read, particularly for those of you who like to pop in your earbuds and crank the volume up (don’t!!).

Thanks to Hearing Health Foundation for the link.

You’ve been told that you should wear ear plugs to concerts, now you will know exactly why:

Why you should wear earplugs to concerts.  And the reason is that a research study has proven that ear plug use protects hearing:

[R]esearchers from the Netherlands randomly assigned 51 people, with an average age of 27, attending an outdoor music festival in Amsterdam into two groups: one in which the participants wore ear plugs and another where they did not. The subjects, who were advised to avoid excessive use of alcohol or drugs, had their hearing evaluated right before and immediately after the four-and-a-half hour festival.

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The study found that only 8 percent of people who wore earplugs experienced hearing loss following this exposure, compared with 42 percent of those in the unprotected group. Additionally, fewer participants wearing earplugs felt a ringing in their ears — a condition known as tinnitus — following the festival, compared to those who did not wear earplugs (12 percent versus 40 percent).

The findings are important, the authors say, as repeated instances of loud music exposure can add up to longterm damage.

Hearing damage is cumulative.  Each exposure to loud noise that results in “temporary” hearing loss or ringing in one’s ears may seem limited in time, but each exposure builds on the last and can lead to permanent and irreversible hearing loss.  You only have one set of ears and science has not discovered how to regrow, rejuvenate, or replace the stereocilia that allow you to hear.  Next time you head to a concert or music festival, get a pair of ear plugs and protect your hearing.

NOTE: The statement in the article that “85 dBA is considered the cut off between safe and potentially unsafe loudness levels” is not correct when applied to the general public.  In February 2016, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) posted an article on its Science Blog that stated that the 85 dBA noise exposure limit was intended as a limit for occupational noise exposure and not a safe exposure limit for the public at large.  See, NIOSH Science Blog clarifies difference between occupational and general noise exposure limits.

Thanks to Hyperacusis Research Limited for the link.  Hyperacusis Research Limited is a non-profit charity dedicated to funding research on what causes hyperacusis with the goal of developing effective treatment.

OSHA fines company for willful failure to provide hearing protection

Willard company fined for factory noise.  The headline seems innocuous enough but the story below is absolutely appalling.

According to The Blade, employees of a yard equipment manufacturer located in Willard, Ohio were exposed to noise that “was in excess of 90 decibels,” leading to permanent hearing loss.  The Blade adds that the failure to provide hearing protection “was deemed ‘willful’ by OSHA, which means the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.”  As a result of this employer’s malfeasance, employees have suffered permanent hearing loss while the employer walks away with a $77,000 fine.

One hopes that the insultingly low OSHA fine is just the beginning of the financial cost that will be borne by this monstrous employer, as the injured employees will suffer with this loss for the rest of their lives.  Whatever one thinks about trial attorneys, a punishing damages award is often the only way to keep others from following this company’s abhorrent behavior.