Tag Archive: hearing injury

This would have been great if you were a Beyonce fan:

Beyonce gig was heard eight miles away.

But not so much if you’re not a fan.

Q: If the concert can be heard eight miles away, what is the sound system doing to the ears of the concert goers?

A: Invest in hearing aid companies.  Sadly, that will be a growth industry.

Tragic if true:

Study shows that coffee impedes hearing recovery from noise.

For those of us who love coffee, this study gives us one more reason to fight back against noise.

Thanks to Quiet Communities, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting our health, environment, and quality of life, for the link.

Can too much noise harm your ears?

Yes, permanently.  Dr. Sharon Sandridge of the Cleveland Clinic notes that one exposure is all it takes to permanently damage your hearing.  She states that, “if you go to a concert, and you say, ‘I’m going to just tough it out,’ and you walk out and your ears are ringing and everything is dull, you’ve done permanent damage at that point.”  Permanent damage for which there is no cure and for which the only treatment is a hearing aid.  Do yourself a favor and use ear plugs whenever and wherever you are around loud noise.

Attention New York City residents: Free film

Rooftop Films is presenting “In Pursuit of Silence” for free on July 30th.  “in Pursuit of Silence” examines silence as a “resource for respite and renewal from the sensory onslaught of our modern lives.”  In keeping with the theme, “[t]he film will be presented as a special silent screening, with the audience listening to the film on headphones.”  Click the link above for more information.

 

Protect your hearing now, because hearing aids leave a lot to be desired.

Shari Eberts writes about living with hearing loss.  Unlike many people with hearing loss, Shari’s loss is genetic and not noise-induced.  There currently is no cure for hearing loss and the only treatment is a hearing aid.  Shari explains why hearing aids are an imperfect treatment in Ten Reasons Hearing Aids Are NOT Like Glasses.

 

Toronto noise activists fight city hall:

Better enforcement needed for noise complaints.

The Toronto Noise Coalition (TNC), unhappy with insufficient enforcement of noise bylaws, released a survey that found that “72% of Torontoians are interested to some degree in the issue of noise pollution.”  The survey, which TNC commissioned, also found that “12% of respondents had filed a noise complaint with the city” and that “two-thirds of complainants were unhappy with the response from the city.”

Part of the reason for the unhappiness, no doubt, is the city’s response to the complaints:

Mark Sraga, of Toronto’s municipal licencing and standards department, says there are 200 officers available to deal with general complaints.  But noise complaints may take a back seat to others in terms of response time.

Sraga added that, “[w]e prioritize, yes.  Life and safety, life and death, those are priority issues.  Noise is not one of those life and safety issues.”  Except that it is.  As Dr. David McKeown, the city’s chief medical officer of heath, notes, “noise causes sleep disturbances, which are associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and viral illnesses.”

Long and short, city responses to noise–and not just Toronto–fall short because most city officials don’t see noise as an important issue.  Which means that citizens have to lead this issue and demand that some resources be made available to address noise pollution, which affects quality of life and health.

 

CDC addresses noise exposure and health

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted content on its website addressing Environmental Noise Exposure and Health.  This content looks at a number of issues, including what is hearing loss, sources of environmental noise, and the public health burden from noise and hearing loss.

Under a section titled “Recommendations and Guidelines,” the CDC discusses noise exposure limits.  The CDC notes that the Environmental Protection Agency identified 70 dB as the average exposure limit to environmental noise for the general public, as did the World Health Organization (WHO), which “recommend[ed] that noise exposure levels should not exceed 70 dB over a 24-hour period, and 85 dB over 1 hour period to avoid hearing impairment.”  Occupational noise exposure limits established by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for an 8-hour workday are also mentioned.

Kudos to the CDC for posting this material on their site and giving noise exposure the attention it deserves.  Noise-induced hearing loss and other injuries are mostly preventable, and the failure to educate the public on appropriate exposure limits is significant.  As the CDC states, the “National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) found that in 2014, an estimated 21.0% of adults aged ≥18 years had difficulty following a conversation amid background noise, 11.2% had ringing in the ears [ed. note: tinnitus], and 5.9% had sensitivity to everyday sounds [ed. note: hyperacusis].”   In short, noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus, and hyperacusis affect more than a third of the population of the United States.  Given the CDC’s mission to control and prevent disease and injury, one hopes this is the first of many steps taken to educate the public, advise federal, state, and local governments,  and rein in a preventable health epidemic.

 

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.

Where Is the Quietest Square Inch in the U.S.?

According to an acoustic ecologist, the country’s quietest spot is in a corner of Washington State.

It was clear that the answer would not be any inhabited place in the U.S., and certainly not any city.  In fact, the author notes that:

Many of you may live close enough to expanses of nature to have a sense of quiet – but few places are completely immune.  Air traffic is hard to escape, and by some accounts, noise pollution affects more than 88 percent of the contiguous United States.

The article focuses on the work of Gordon Hempton, “an acoustic ecologist who has spent more than 30 years studying the quietest places in the country – not places free of sound, but free of man-made noises.”   He has determined that the quietest square inch of nature in the U.S. can be found at Hoh Rain Forest at Olympic National Park in Washington State “on top of a moss-covered log at 47° 51.959N, 123° 52.221W.”  Why focus on this one square inch?  Because, as Hempton explains, “man-made noises can be heard from 20 miles away.  So in fact, by protecting an inch, he says, it’s really preserving 1,000 square miles of silence.”

Click the link to learn about One Square Inch, A Sanctuary for Silence at Olympic National Park.

For more on Gordon Hempton and his life’s work: Soundtracker the Movie.