Can Super-Fast Hand Dryers Damage Your Hearing?

If you are reading this, then you probably suspect what the answer may be. Sadly, your suspicions would seem to be correct – it would seem that yes, the relatively new “super-fast” hand dryers can indeed negatively impact your hearing.

A recent study has suggested that the new models of hand dryers can have a fairly severe effect – they can have the same impact on your hearing as a pneumatic drill at close range would.

How Have They Passed Safety Testing?
It would seem as though they have successfully got through the typical barrage of safety tests simply via inaccuracies in the testing conditions – the product testing labs are significantly larger than your typical public toilet, and as such the final results were almost irrelevant.

Various researchers from Goldsmiths, University of London carried out this study, testing the acoustics in a lab of a “box shape” typical of public toilets. The results of this new study carried some startling findings: the noise levels recorded were eleven times as high as the ones reported by the product testing labs!

The head of the Goldsmiths sound practice research unit, Dr John Levack Drever, claimed that the difference in results was down to the “ultra-absorbent” acoustic lab environments, and how greatly they affect the noise in comparison to the real-life outcome in a public toilet. This latter environment would see the noise being “vastly amplified” due to the “highly reverberant and reflective” surroundings.

What Can Be Done to Correct This?
Dr Levack seems to think that the answer is simple: ditch the laboratories. To get a more realistic approach – one that is applicable to a real world scenario – they need to conduct their tests in a more realistic environment.

Levack states that users need to come together with engineers and sound artists in order to “tune the products accordingly”, so that they make less noise in the typical hand dryer locations.

What Is So Bad About Loud Noises?
Apart from the obvious things like deafness, the noise levels given out by these hand dryers cause some other negative effects.

Some of these effects are less apparent because they affect minorities instead of the population as a whole. For example, elderly sufferers of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can suffer from discomfort and confusion caused by the noise, whilst people who are blind or have impaired vision can experience greater difficulty in navigation. Because the noise can reach such overwhelmingly loud levels, users of hearing aids are sometimes forced to turn off their devices whilst using a public toilet.

And of course, prolonged exposure to loud noises can lead to a degradation in the ability to hear.

The Effects of Hearing Loss
The effects of hearing loss are legion, and they are varied. A recent study has linked people who are hard of hearing with an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and other effects can include a feeling of isolation, depression, decreased enjoyment in social activities and a lack of awareness. The latter problem can be particularly serious in potentially dangerous situations, such as crossing the road.

Of course, the worst thing about losing your hearing is the obvious one – you can no longer hear. No one wants to go deaf. Try and limit your usage of super-fast hand dryers if you can.

With over 25 years’ experience in hearing healthcare, Hidden Hearing is committed to providing the most professional hearing healthcare service to its customers. Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit

Keeping Up With. . . . . Hearing Loss


Bruce Jenner’s Hearing Loss Leads To Brain Tumor Scare On Kardashians

Keeping Up With the Kardashians‘ beloved patriarch Bruce Jenner‘s hearing loss led to a brain tumor scare for the Olympic legend.

That’s what viewers found out on Sunday night’s episode of the family’s E! show, when the former decathlete went to the doctor after driving wife Kris Jenner and the kids crazy by blasting the TV and not being able to hear their conversations. When Bruce checked out his hearing loss, however, he got the shock of his life — an ear growth was discovered and he had to undergo an MRI to rule out a brain tumor.

But luckily, the sports hero, 63, is going to be just fine. With Kris, Kim and Khloe Kardashian by his side at Dr. Rick Friedman‘s office, Bruce learned he didn’t have a tumor. “Your MRI is clear. Your brain’s good,” Dr. Friedman said, as Bruce’s relieved family members cheered. The doctor said Bruce just needed a hearing aid.

The proud Olympian sighed, “I don’t want it to be seen,” but when his doctor recommended a tiny one, Bruce said he would consider the idea.

Bruce claimed although his hearing wasn’t as sharp as it used to be, it was good enough. However, Kim convinced Bruce’s older son, Brandon Jenner, to pressure him on the issue, and the athlete admitted to Brandon irritably, “I have to get it checked out.”

Dr. Friedman said he had a substantial decline in high frequency sound, then said he had a growth in his ear. But everything ended well for the famous dad!

Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit

I used to be a closeted hearing aid wearer

Hayleigh's Cherished Charms the brainchild of the brilliant 13 year old Hayleigh

Hayleigh’s Cherished Charms the brainchild of the brilliant 13 year old Hayleigh

I used to be a closeted hearing aid wearer. My hair was long enough to cover my ears and hearing devices, so I hid them. In the summer months, when it was too hot to keep my locks down, I pulled them into a ponytail…and removed my hearing aids. Why? Because I hated the way they looked on me, and I didn’t want people to see them.

One day while browsing Facebook, I saw a photo that shocked me. Someone had her hearing aids in, and they were decorated with jewelry. They looked sparkly and beautiful. The photo mentioned a company called Hayleigh’s Cherished Charms. Founded by a teenage girl with hearing loss named Hayleigh, the business makes jewelry charms that attach to hearing aids and cochlear implants.

I purchased my first ear charms last year—silver and turquoise dangling charms. When I wore my hair pulled back, people complimented my ears. No one mentioned the hearing aids attached to the charms.

This year, to celebrate having new hearing aids, I bought more charms. If you are tired of hiding your hearing aids or cochlear implants by a thick mane of hair, bling them up. Besides charms, consider adding sparkly stickers to them or colorful twists to the hearing aid tubes. Hayleigh has those, too.

Remember that the more people who see your decked out hearing devices, the more people who are made aware of your unique self. Hearing loss or not, don’t hide.

Come out of the closet.


Christmas – and the gift of hearing.

Dublin Xmas

Dublin Christmas Lights

We don’t ever like to be negative about Christmas, but with hearing difficulties affecting almost one in six people in Ireland and more than four in five of those who could benefit from hearing loss treatment failing to seek help for up to fifteen years, social events at Christmas can prove to be a difficult time.  Background noise at gatherings can cause listening difficulty for persons with normal hearing, so for people with any degree of hearing loss, the problem can be unbearable. 

Studies have linked untreated hearing loss to feelings of stress, frustration, social isolation and depression and can cause further deterioration to your hearing. These symptoms can intensify at holiday gatherings with family and friends when many of those with hearing impairment may find conversation both difficult and isolating. The advice from Hidden Hearing is to talk to your family member or friend about their hearing loss, there is nothing to be embarrassed about, and help is easily available and accessible.

Christmas can also bring potential dangers to children’s hearing from toys which are too loud. Sounds that are 85 decibels or higher (an alarm clock sound can be 80 decibels) can permanently damage hearing over time, resulting in noise induced hearing loss. Parents are concerned about the safety of toys at this time of year, but few consider the impact of the noise of toys, games and MP3 players on their children’s hearing health. Parents need to be more aware of the potential dangers and take precautions such as looking for toys that have volume switches or putting masking tape over toy speakers. Noisy toys are an especially serious problem involving hearing loss because children ages 0-2 tend to hold the sound-making toy up against their tiny sensitive ears, so ensure that your young child is using the toy appropriately. The effects of noisy toys on hearing loss are not immediate but are cumulative and can go unnoticed until it is too late.

Discussing this issue, Dolores Madden from Hidden Hearing says: “Christmas is a time which should be enjoyed by all, so don’t be afraid to talk to your loved one if you think they aren’t enjoying it due to hearing loss.

“Noise induced hearing loss is entirely preventable, so keep an ear out for toys which might be too noisy or computer games which are being played at excessive volume levels. Awareness of our hearing health is something that can be communicated to our children at a young age. Have a great Christmas!”

Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit

Lightning proof hearing aids

Hidden Hearing K90 hearing aids

Hidden Hearing K90 hearing aids

Whilst on a visit to his holiday home in the West of Ireland with all his family in tow, a Hidden Hearing client with a K90 hearing aid had the unfortunate experience of having his hearing aid struck by lightning in his right ear. The unfortunate hearing aid blew out of his ear not to be found for some hours until he offered a reward to his grand children. Eventually one of his grand daughters found the aid and it was still in perfect working condition.

His grand kids had been out on the bay in Kayaks with their father who witnessed the same storm but did not realise what had happened back on shore.

0Nobody was any worse for wear after the experience and the hearing aid wearer says he has never felt better in his life and is looking forward to his next break next week in the sunny West of Ireland.

Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit

Will I go deaf like my parents?

My late mother and father both became quite deaf in their seventies and it caused them a lot of discomfort in their final years. I remember them having some difficulty with hearing aids. I’m 55 now. Is it inevitable that I will also lose my hearing? Is there a hereditary element to hearing loss?


Sound is the way most of us receive life’s narrative. That is, until age-related hearing loss starts messing with the volume. High-pitched voices get harder to understand; phone calls are more difficult to decipher. The stories become muddled. Frustration grows.

There are many reasons why hearing loss and deafness happen. Loud noise, illness, medications such as hormone replacement therapies – all can play a part in a person’s losing the ability to process sounds.

Aging, however, remains a leading contender.

“It’s really something that affects every family with older relatives,” says audiologist Dolores Madden of Hidden Hearing.

It took nine years to complete a University of South Florida formal study, but last month the University’s Global Center for Hearing & Speech Research linked age-related hearing loss to a protein-producing gene in the inner ear. Mutated versions of the gene make the ear unable to translate sounds into nerve impulses interpreted by the brain.

People with a family history of hearing loss can can be tested — and warned — years earlier if that one gene isn’t just right, says the USF study, published in the journal Hearing Research in October.

The research also takes a significant step past what’s already known about how aging changes the inner ear. That includes the understanding that older people should be concerned about damage or death to the tiny hairs inside the ear, which are essential to catching sound waves.

This knowledge might nudge some to take more care with their hearing earlier in life. They might decide to wear headphones while mowing the lawn, or avoid standing too close to speakers at a rock concert. ”If you do know, you can take more precautions,” Madden says. ” The earlier someone is diagnosed and treated for hearing loss, the better, for all concerned. Hidden Hearing offer free hearing evaluations and it is fast and simple to do.”

You should be aware that modern digital hearing aids are now smaller and more discrete than ever, with greater power to deliver better sound quality using computer processing and multidirectional microphones. The difficulties your parents have had in the past may have been with older hearing-aid models that didn’t deliver the standard of hearing care of their modern equivalents.

You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000or visit

By Edel Rooney

Early use of hearing aids prevents further loss

Written by Mathew Horton: Medical News

“Hearing aids can help prevent cells in the ear dying by stimulating them before they are lost forever. Wait too long and once these cells are dead, they cannot be regrown,” This is the comment from the latest research.

People should get their hearing checked at least once every two years, as they would their sight, according to one expert.

Andrew Goodwin, information and outreach advisor at Deafness Research, noted that early diagnosis of hearing issues is essential to prevent further loss.

He said that subtle symptoms can be indicative of a serious hearing problem.

These include struggling to hear in noisy environments, asking people to speak up, and friends and relatives commenting on it.

People with such indicators should ensure they seek medical advice, emphasised the expert, with some people waiting as long as ten to 15 years before seeking help.

“The latest deafness funded research is looking at regeneration of these cells as one way to treat deafness, but prevention is much better while there remains no cure.”

This follows a study published in journal Psychology and Aging which found that lifelong musicians do not lose their hearing to the same extent as other people in old age.

Musicians were found to be better able to detect short silent gaps in a continuous sound, identify the relationship between different sound frequencies and hear a spoken sentence among background noise.

This indicates using the auditory system at a high level on a regular basis could combat some age-related changes in musicians’ brains.

However, Mr Goodwin noted that whether musical or not, every individual can reduce the loss of hearing as they age by protecting their ears from an early age.

Young people must turn down the volume of MP3 players, he warned.

By taking precautions such as using ear plugs and not exposing ears to dangerous volume levels, people can cut their risk of profound hearing loss later in life.

If you have any questions about hearing loss contact Hidden Hearing