Motorbike Helmets can lead to hearing loss

Helmets can damage your hearing

It had earlier been indicated that motorcycle helmets, while protecting bikers’ brains, may also contribute to hearing loss, but why this happens was unknown, until now.

The distinctive roar of a Harley’s engine is loud, but studies have revealed the biggest source of noise for motorcyclists is actually generated by air whooshing over the riders” helmets. Even at legal speeds, the sound can exceed safe levels.

Now, scientists have identified a key source of the rushing din. Researchers from the University of Bath and Bath Spa University placed motorcycleshelmets atop mannequin heads, mounted them in a wind tunnel, and turned on the fans. By placing microphones at different locations around the helmet and at the mannequin’s ear, the researchers found that an area underneath the helmet and near the chin bar is a significant source of the noise that reaches riders” sensitive eardrums.

The findings may one day be used to design quieter helmets, saving riders’ ears for the enjoyment of hard biker rock, the researchers said.

The study has been published in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

What have you done today to damage your hearing?

What have you done today to damage your hearing?

You might think that you haven’t done anything that would put you at risk, but a surprising number of everyday situations and common actions can have a lasting impact on your ability to hear. Being aware of the damage you can do to your hearing every day is essential – when you know where the risks lie, you can take action to prevent or mitigate further harm.

Renewed concerns about hearing loss arose with a 2010 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association that showed increased incidence of damage in young people. While some were quick to attribute that trend to loud music and listening to it on headphones, other risks in our environment can accumulate and result in gradual hearing loss.

The National Institutes of Health says that noises louder than 85 decibels can damage your hearing. Since many common activities fall into that dangerous range, it’s important to equip yourself with protection.

Consider these activities that most people are exposed to, and which can pose a risk:

* Mowing the lawn. At 90 decibels, this simple chore could be taking a toll on your hearing. It’s important to not simply shrug it off as something that you’ve always done. Wear hearing protection like over-ear headphones to muffle the sound and keep it to a lower level.

* Listening to headphones. While it’s not the only factor in hearing loss, listening to loud music on your headphones definitely poses a risk, as noise levels can easily ring in at 100 decibels. Parents should talk to children and teens about appropriate volume levels and instill good habits for listening to music.

* Sporting events. Indoor or outdoor, the cheering, rousing fight songs and play-by-play announcements add up to a very noisy environment, sometimes nearing 100 decibels. For anyone attending a sporting event, wearing hearing protection, like ear plugs, is important. If your kids are joining in on the fun, it’s essential that they wear appropriately-sized ear plugs.

* Concerts. With sound levels often reaching 120 decibels, rock concerts can have a serious effect on your hearing – in fact, according to the hearing experts, at those sound levels, there’s potential for damage in just seven minutes. You should always bring hearing protection to concerts, and if your kids and teens want to go, start teaching them early on that there’s nothing uncool about wearing ear plugs to protect their hearing.

As hearing impairment starts showing up in younger generations, it means that they will have to live longer with the problems it causes. Those with damaged hearing might feel the effects in different ways; it can have an impact on learning, work performance, earning power and social interactions.

Because hearing loss is often cumulative, building up over the years, it’s important to start preventing damage as soon as possible. Using hearing protection products, you don’t need to completely avoid the fun, noisy activities that can be a problem. By wearing ear plugs, keeping the volume down and protecting yourself, you’ll be able to keep on enjoying life for years to come.

Making sure your food doesn’t make you sick

Staying Healthy Forum

introduced By Dr Nina Byrnes

In association with Hidden Hearing

Dr. Nina Byrnes introduces a series of articles by various writers on medical topics this one is by Edel Rooney.

Making sure your food doesn’t make you sick

I had an awful bout of food poisoning two months ago when I was violently ill for several days. I’m now paranoid about what I eat as I never want to experience that again. More importantly, I want to protect my children from a similar experience. Do you have any tips on avoiding food poisoning?

Foodborne illnesses occur as a result of bacteria, viruses, or parasites contaminating the food you eat. The most common causes are improper food handling, preparation or storage.

By maintaining sensible hygiene practices and watching where you eat, you can minimise your exposure to these types of illnesses.

Here are some common-sense tips:

Eating out

Make sure the premises is clean, especially work surfaces, tables and utensils.

Check if you can see where the food is being prepared. Is the area clean?

Check if staff are well presented. Waiters and waitresses should have clean hands and nails, their hair should be tied back securely and their uniforms should be clean.

Storing food

You should store raw meat, poultry or fish near the bottom of the fridge so their juices do not drip onto other food. Cooked food should be stored on higher shelves. Food should be placed in a container or on a covered tray in the fridge.

Keep your fridge clean – throw out old food, wash inside surfaces with warm soapy water and rinse.

Store food as directed on the label.

For frozen storage, it is best to remove the food from the wrapping and put it into freezer bags to maintain its quality. You should expel all air from the bag and then tie, label and date it.

You should cover and store cooked food in the fridge after the steam has evaporated. Never leave cooked food to cool completely on the kitchen counter.

Do not put too much warm food in your fridge as it will not be able to cool to the core. Germs can multiply when the centre of the food remains warm for too long.

Put chilled and frozen food into your fridge and freezer as soon as possible after purchase. Freeze food you do not intend to use before its use-by-date, as freezing greatly extends this date.

When re-heating food, ensure it is steaming hot all the way through (above 70°C) – this will kill any bacteria that may have grown on the food when it was in the fridge. Food should never be re-heated more than once and leftover food should be used within a day of preparation.

Clean your fridge and cupboards regularly as crumbs in cupboards can attract pests and dirty fridges can carry bacteria.

Thawing food

Always make sure that frozen food is thawed completely before cooking, unless instructions state “cook from frozen”.

If you are using a microwave to thaw food, cook it immediately after thawing. Never thaw food at room temperature on the kitchen counter.

Once it is thawed, cook food immediately. Thawed food should never be re-frozen in its uncooked state.

Cooking food

Always cook food thoroughly until it is hot – all parts of the food must reach at least 70°C.

When cooking mince, sausages, hamburgers, rolled roasts, pork and chicken, make sure that they are cooked right through, that there is no pink meat and that the juices run clear. If cooked chicken is still raw near the bone, put it back in the oven until it is done.

Always wash raw fruit and vegetables thoroughly before eating them.

You should never serve hot gravy with cold meat.

When using the microwave to cook, always rotate and stir food to make sure it cooks evenly. Leave the food to stand for a few minutes before you check that cooking is complete – food continues to cook even when the microwave is turned off.

Serving food

Always wash your hands thoroughly in hot, soapy water before serving or eating food.

Never leave potentially hazardous food, raw or cooked, at room temperature any longer than necessary – never leave it longer than 2 hours.

Always use separate cutting boards and utensils for cooked and raw food as this will prevent bacteria from a meat or poultry product contaminating another food. Wash cutting boards thoroughly with hot, soapy water between uses.

Discard cutting boards if they become excessively worn or develop hard-to-clean grooves.

For more information on food safety, see

Dr. Nina Byrnes is Medical Advisor with Hidden Hearing. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing clinic. visit

Fragile Phil Collins helped from awards ceremony half way through

Phil Collins and Sir Bob Geldof attend the Glenfiddich Mojo Honours List 2011 (Pic: Getty)

Phil Collins had to be helped out of an awards ceremony after being hit by crippling pains all over his body.

The fragile pop legend was due to present a gong to Ringo Starr but the lingering effects of a spinal injury struck and he was forced to leave, supported by two aides.

And Who guitarist Pete ­Townshend also joined the list of crock stars as he was spotted wearing two hearing aids to help combat ­deafness and tinnitus caused by years of loud music.

Advertisement >>

Former Genesis drummer Collins, 60, chatted to stars including Bob Geldof ahead of presenting Ringo with the Icon Award at the Mojo ceremony in London on Thursday. There he revealed: “I’m on my last legs. I couldn’t come back to music even if I wanted to.

“All these aches and pains, can’t do it any more.” A Mojo spokesman added: “Phil was unwell and ­unfortunately had to go home.”

Collins vowed to retire from music last March after a string of illnesses left him weak, lethargic and unable to drum ever again.

His ordeal began with the back injury in 2009 after decades of pounding his kit caused vertebrae to crush his spinal cord.

Collins, who has two young sons Nicholas and Matthew, with third and since divorced wife Orianne Cevey, insisted nothing could tempt him back into music.

He said before the awards ceremony kicked off: “I was tired of staying in a different hotel every night when touring.

“All those years on the road has taken it out of me. Now I spend all of my days doing nothing, just lying down watching daytime TV and Sky News.

“I just about manage to pick my boys up from school. I couldn’t come back, I’ve lost touch, I don’t know Plan B’s music or Lady Gaga’s. But tonight I’m here for Ringo.

“His award is well overdue, and that’s why I had to come out tonight.”

But pains in his arms, legs, back and other parts of his body meant he couldn’t last the distance at the three-hour event. As he was taken home, fears were also raised over Townshend’s health. Roger Daltry said his bandmate, 66, is “almost stone deaf”. He added: “When we last performed he had to stand right next to the speakers to hear anything.

“I don’t know what Pete will do. It could mark the end of the band doing live shows.”

Townshend’s problems began in the 60s when Who star Keith Moon blew up his drum kit live on stage and left him deaf in one ear. Decades of standing next to loud amps have also taken their toll.

The star said: “I have severe hearing damage. It’s manifested itself as tinnitus, ringing in the ears at frequencies that I play guitar. It’s painful and ­frustrating.

“I’ve no idea what I can do about this. I am unable to perform with in-ear monitors. In fact, the more they increase the more unbearable tinnitus I suffer after shows.”

For more information on hearing loss contact Hidden Hearing

Read more:

If you have a hearing loss you may not pass some other medical tests

Study Shows Poor Hearing May Cause False-Positive Results on Cognitive Tests

If you’re going to take your elderly parents in for a memory checkup, you may want to have their hearing tested first.

So suggest researchers who found that a substantial number of people may have false-positive results on cognitive tests designed to detect dementia due to undiagnosed hearing problems.

“A hearing test should be imperative prior to cognitive testing,” says study researcher Michael Lerch, MD, of Diakonia Mark-Ruhr Hospital in Hagen, Germany.

Hearing problems can be overlooked, especially if they are mild, says William Thies, PhD, chief medical and scientific officer at the Alzheimer’s Association.

“Just missing one word can distinctly affect performance on a cognitive test, particularly if it’s done in a hurried fashion,” he tells WebMD.

Thies’ advice: If dementia is suspected, make sure cognitive testing is performed by a doctor with experience treating Alzheimer’s disease patients.

Hearing Loss and Dementia

It’s not uncommon for hearing loss and dementia to coexist, Lerch says. One in eight people over age 65 have dementia. And more than half of people over age 70 have hearing loss, he says.

The new study involved 1,600 patients in a geriatric practice. About 900 had scores suggestive of dementia on the Mini-Mental State Exam, a brief test of cognitive skills, including attention span and memory. Then, patients underwent hearing testing, with treatment if needed.

One-third of those with possible dementia were found to have a relevant hearing impairment and showed an improvement in cognitive testing results after treatment, Lerner reports.

The findings were presented here at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2011.

About 5.4 million Americans and 35 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.

These findings were presented at a medical conference. They should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the “peer review” process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

By Charlene Laino
WebMD Health News

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

If you have any questions about hearing loss contact Hidden Hearing


Miley Cyrus and The Listen Carefully campaign

The Listen Carefully campaign kicked-off with a series of public service ads with a clear message – “your hearing is fragile, so don’t listen loudly, listen carefully.”  In addition, the campaign has included digital media activities and public service ads with recording artist and actress Miley Cyrus. Fans of the artist were invited to enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a “listening experience” with the famous singer and actress during a soundcheck, as she prepares for her performance at the Starkey Hearing Foundation’s Annual Awards Gala on July 24 in Minneapolis.

“As an artist, I want to make sure fans are able to experience the magic of music as it was intended,” said Cyrus.  “By just lowering the volume and using the right protection for your ears, hearing loss can be prevented, which means never losing the ability to enjoy the sound of a guitar, a beautiful lyric or a favorite song.”

Miley Cyrus first became involved with the Starkey Hearing Foundation during a recent trip to Haiti, where she joined the Foundation on a mission to distribute hearing aids to those in need.  During the trip, Miley learned about the Listen Carefully campaign and was quick to jump on board to lend her support.

”With 6.5 million teens recognized with some level of hearing loss, and those numbers growing, it is important that we put information and tools in the hands of parents and young people on how to protect one’s hearing from the amped up volumes of personal hearing devices that are prevalent today,” said Bill Austin, Chief Executive Officer of Starkey Laboratories and Founder of the Starkey Hearing Foundation.  “The majority of teen hearing loss is preventable, and it is our hope that the Listen Carefully campaign, with support from entertainers like Miley Cyrus, can make a difference, especially in the lives of young people like Samantha Sobek.”

According to the Starkey Hearing Foundation, loud sounds such as music pumping through headphones and ear buds at too high a volume, have the ability to destroy the tiny hair cells in the inner ear over time.  These tiny hair cells are essential in converting sound waves into messages and nerve impulses that are sent to the brain as sounds.  If just 30 percent of these hair cells are damaged or destroyed, one will experience hearing loss.

For an online hearing test, tips on hearing loss prevention, and more, visit  There, you will also find information on the Listen Carefully campaign.

About the Listen Carefully Campaign Sweepstakes Winners: Lisa and Samantha Sobek
Mother Lisa Sobek entered the sweepstakes after seeing word about it online. The entire family enjoys Miley Cyrus’ music because according to Sobek, Miley “sings from the heart.” According to Sobek, the family has been avid Miley Cyrus fans for at least five years, though they have never been able to see Miley in concert. They watched Hannah Montana for years, and have also seen the Hannah Montana movie, as well as Bolt. Lisa’s daughter Samantha, who will be enjoying the meet-and-greet experience with Miley, says her favorite song of the singer’s is “The Climb”. Samantha is 12 years old and will be entering the 7th grade in the fall. Samantha enjoys softball and cheerleading and hopes to be a veterinarian when she grows up. When she meets Miley, Samantha says she just wants the singer to know that she looks up to her, loves her music, and thinks Miley is very beautiful.

If you have any questions about hearing loss contact Hidden Hearing

Helping my father with his hearing problem

As we get older having an annual hearing test might not be such a bad idea!

A series of articles by various writers on medical topics this one is by Edel Rooney.

Helping my father with his hearing problem

My father is in his 70s and his hearing is deteriorating. He is finding it very difficult to hold conversations and is annoying my mother by having TV and music on at a very high volume. He refuses to do anything about the problem. Any ideas?

Hearing loss is an integral part of growing older, as is failing eyesight. But for some strange reason people have no problem getting glasses to help them see properly again, yet many resist getting aids to improve their hearing. It’s bizarre!

As you mention, you’ve already noticed some of the early indications of hearing loss: turning the TV and radio up loud, not responding when called, asking people to repeat themselves or even odd answers to questions. I know of one man who only acknowledged his hearing loss was a problem when following a chat with the son of a friend he asked the young man “what kind of dog was it?” and the reply was “accountancy”. He’d been telling the older man about his new job, not a dog!

Despite some humorous incidents like this, hearing loss is a serious issue. Not only are there safety issues (hearing warning alarms and announcements) but every day tasks can become more difficult (hearing the phone ring or the timer on the cooker). Others in the household can get incredibly frustrated having to repeat themselves all the time, having to shout or being ‘ignored’ when in reality the other person just hasn’t heard them. As a result tensions can run high leading to all kinds of relationship issues.

The first thing is to get a medical check to determine the cause of your dad’s hearing loss. It’s likely to be age related but it should be confirmed there’s no underlying medical condition. However, it could be the case that he has a build-up of ear wax or an infection which can easily be remedied, restoring or improving his hearing quickly.

If the hearing loss is permanent there are things you can do to help the situation. Others in the household must adapt their behaviour to allow for your dad’s condition. That means making sure he can see your mouth when talking to him. If he’s engrossed in some other activity make sure you get his attention before starting to talk to him. Speak normally but clearly and don’t be afraid to ask him if he has understood you fully.

Try to ensure that ‘white noise’, all the background noises most of us filter out automatically (radios, other people talking, washing machines, etc) is kept to a minimum when talking to your father.

While old style hearing aids not only amplified the sound the weared wanted to hear but much of the ‘white noise’ too, newer models provide a much better experience. For example, with some devices, you can tune it directly into your TV or phone.

You can also ensure your father has a television which incorporates sub-titling so he can continue to enjoy his favourite programmes. In large gatherings it can be impossible to catch conversations with several people talking at once. If it is not possible to get the group to talk one at a time then someone in the family should make a point of sticking close by your dad and clearly repeat information, but only if you can see he is struggling. Or try and arrange social engagements with only a handful of people at a time.

If something is really important, write it down clearly and make sure he reads it.  Or if you need him to get important information for you, such as instructions as to how to take his medications, make sure he gets his doctor to write it down. Or better still, try and go with him to his appointments to make sure you know what is going on.

When introducing your father to new people let them know he has a hearing problem and ask them to speak up and clearly to him.  You can do this in a matter-of-fact manner, not making an issue out of it, but above all don’t let your father be embarrassed about his condition. As a society we should be breaking the taboo of admitting to the natural ageing process that is hearing loss and that will only happen by talking openly about it.