French horn players are most at risk of hearing loss in an orchestra

FRENCH-HORN_2682972b

 

Aspiring musicians beware – playing the French horn can be bad for your hearing.

It is one of the most rousing instruments in the orchestra, used to create soaring fanfares and powerful harmonics. However, it seems the beauty of the French horn may be lost on the very musicians who play it because it causes them to lose their hearing.

Scientists have found that those who play the distinctive, curved brass instruments experience some of the loudest noises within an orchestra and have the highest risk of hearing loss. New findings suggest that up to a third of horn players suffer hearing problems in at least one of their ears, with younger musicians being most at risk. It is thought that the shape of the instrument, which can direct the sound towards the player’s ears and those of their neighbour, is partly responsible for this increased risk compared to other musicians.

French horns are also often used to play loud fanfares while in classical orchestras horn players are seated side by side in the midst of the brass section. Dr Wayne Wilson, an audiologist who led the study at the study from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, said: “It is now well established that professional orchestral musicians can be exposed to potentially harmful sound levels in their working environment. “It is also acknowledged that sound exposure varies significantly across the orchestra from musician to musician according to position, repertoire, and instrument played, with horn players thought to be one of the most at-risk groups. “Even mild hearing loss can result in difficulties discriminating pitch, abnormal loudness growth and tinnitus, all of which can effect a musician’s ability to perform, subsequently jeopardising his or her livelihood.”

The researchers examined the hearing of 142 French horn players attending a conference of the International Horn Society and compared this to how often they played. Their study, which is published Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, found that the majority played their horns for more than 20 hours a week, with two thirds of those who took part being members of an orchestra. They found that overall 22.2 per cent of the horn players showed signs of hearing loss while among those who were under 40 years old, 32.9 per cent showed signs of hearing loss.  Just 18 per cent wore hearing protection when they were playing. French horns can reach noise levels of up to 106 decibels while trombones and trumpets can exceed 114 decibels.

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 www.hiddenhearing.ie.

 

How your MOBILE can give you hearing loss … not to mention a saggy jaw and acne.

 

 

According to Which? the average handset has more germs than a toilet

More than a third of us own a smartphone and, on average, will look at it a barely believable 150 times a day

But have you ever considered what this is doing to your health? Here, we reveal how our favourite gadget can damage our bodies.

DAMAGING YOUR HEARING

Playing music through headphones too loud can cause noise-induced hearing loss, which can make it difficult to hear speech, especially when there’s background noise, many standard-issue headphones don’t fit the ear properly resulting in a leakage of sound, so we feel we have to turn up the volume. 

The solution: Bespoke headphones, but even then, always keep sound levels as low as you can and don’t listen for too long. Hidden Hearing  recommend the 60/60 Rule to protect your hearing – that’s listen to your personal music device through headphones for a maximum of 60 minutes at 60% of the volume

RUINING YOUR EYES

If your eyes feel sore after staring at your phone, you won’t be surprised to learn that focusing on a small object for a long time can cause dry eyes, which can lead to inflammation and infection. 

Even more worryingly, phones could be affecting children’s eyesight in the long-term. Mr Allon Barsam, a consultant opthalmic surgeon at Luton & Dunstable University Hospital, says it is possible that youngsters who stare at screens all day could be near-sighted as they grow up.

‘People only notice this when they can’t read a newspaper, but we tend to hold phones far closer to our eyes than papers — around 10in away as opposed to 16in — so it’s becoming a problem sooner. While smartphones aren’t necessarily damaging our  eyes, they are demanding more  of them.

The solution: Enlarge the size of the text on your phone, and to avoid glare, try to use your phone in a well-lit room and don’t use it for more than 15 minutes at a time.  

SQUASHING THE SPINE

Our smartphones are changing our posture. ‘Our bodies are a product of what we do on a daily basis,’ says Kirsten Lord, a chartered physiotherapist.

‘I now see far more people with pain in their neck or shoulders. We tend to poke our heads forward when we’re reading something on a phone or tablet. This position squashes the top of your spine and compresses the nerves that go up to your head. The result can be headaches and feeling tired and stiff.’

The solution: Invest in a hands-free kit. Kirsten also advises trying exercises to lengthen your neck muscles, such as imagining a string pulling you up from the middle of your head to help you improve your posture.

GIVING YOU SAGGY JOWLS

Excessive phone use could change the definition of your jawline. ‘I’ve seen an increase in the number of women in their 30s concerned about weakness in the lower third of their face,’ says cosmetic dermatologist, Dr Sam Bunting. 

‘As we age, our skin’s elasticity decreases and it’s feasible that bending our neck forward for hours on end to look at smartphones and tablets may mean there is more of a downwards tug on the delicate skin.’

The solution: Try holding your phone or tablet straight out in front of you, rather than below chest level, so you’re not constantly looking downwards.

CAUSING SPOTS

Considering how hot phone screens get after a long call, it’s no surprise that some experts are concerned they can give you pimples or sweat rash. 

Which? magazine carried out tests on a sample of 30 mobile phones and discovered that, on average, a handset had 18 times more harmful germs on it than the flush handle in a men’s lavatory.

The solution: If you’re prone to spots, use a hands-free kit and wipe your phone with a saline solution. 

STOPPING YOU SLEEPING

Computers, laptops, tablets and phones tend to give off a blue light, thought to interfere with the natural hormones, such as melatonin, which help us  to sleep. 

The solution: Research from the Mayo Clinic in Arizona suggests that dimming the brightness settings on your phone and holding it at least 14in from your face while using it will reduce its potential to impede sleep. Better yet, buy an old-fashioned alarm clock and leave your phone outside your bedroom at night. 

RUINING RELATIONSHIPS

We might think our phones facilitate communication, but studies suggest otherwise. ‘Technology can make it hard to manage boundaries in our lives,’ says Dr Emma Short, a psychologist at the University of Bedfordshire.

‘So if we’re on our phone, we don’t give our full attention to those we’re physically with. Research also suggests the more engaged we are in social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, the more lonely we can become as family, friends and work relationships suffer.’

The solution: Have a strict rule that there are no phones at  the dinner table or when you’re out socially.

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 www.hiddenhearing.ie.

Apple patent reveals new design of in-ear headphones that automatically drop the volume if not worn properly

listening to music

 
Apple has filed a patent for a pair of headphones that automatically adjust the volume of music if they’re not inserted far enough into the ear. The tech company has been criticised in the past for the headphones it sells with iPhones and iPods because they ‘leak’ music, meaning a listener’s tunes can be heard by people around them.  

Designs for the in-ear headphones, also known as earbuds, in this latest patent have a built-in microphone that can assess how much much music is leaking and adjust the volume accordingly.

According to the patent, the buds could track variations in the seal between the speaker section of the earbud and the wearer’s ear canal. If the earbud is not inserted far enough, the microphone will realise the seal has been broken.

The buds will then either warn the listener through an on-screen message, or automatically adjust the volume.The microphone can also listen to ambient noises and increase the volume if the wearer is in a loud environment. This adjustment additionally means the earbuds will better fit people’s different sized ears.

The patent was filed earlier this month to the U.S Patent and Trademark Office and it will need to be approved before Apple can begin working on, and ultimately selling, the device. It said: ‘The speakers in earbud headphone are encased in earbuds.

Hidden Hearing  recommend the 60/60 Rule to protect your hearing – that’s listen to your personal music device through headphones for a maximum of 60 minutes at 60% of the volume.

 
 Commenting on the news of the patent, Hidden Hearing audiologist Keith Ross said, “ As a result of years of listening to personal music devices at very loud volumes, we are seeing a huge increase in the number of people sometimes as young as 30 suffering from hearing loss which you might expect a person aged over 70 to have. Our advice is to take care of your hearing and if you or your family or friends suspect you have a hearing loss to get your hearing checked today. Hearing screenings are free at Hidden Hearing’s branches or mobile hearing clinic.”
Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2356717/Is-Apple-finally-launch-decent-pair-headphones-Patent-reveals.html

Today is National Music Day!

Music

 

Today is National Music Day and if you’re a lover of all sorts of music – or in fact any sort – today is worth clearing your diary for.

Lots of different free music events will be taking place all over the country as part of the love:live music celebrations to mark the day but remember to enjoy the music for years to come you must protect your hearing.

Here’s a taster of what to expect…

 

  • Opera in the Park at Merrion Square with The Marriage of Figaro, presented by the Culture, Recreation and Amenity Department, Dublin City Council.

 

  • In association with the OPW, love:live music’s national partner Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann stage a highlight performance at Dublin’s St Stephen’s Green bandstand featuring musicians and traditional dancers led by Kieran Hanrahan.

 

  • Alliance Francaise in Dublin and the Embassy of France present Soul Square, a world renowned rap-slam group from Paris with support by Workin Class Records and First Music Contact.

 

  • National Music Day at Christ Church Cathedral celebrates the spirit of collaboration in music and performance, with a diverse and exciting line-up of inspired pairings from Ireland, including some very special guests. The project, a collaboration between Christ Church Cathedral and LeCool Dublin, is all about the connections and relationship set in the majestic surroundings of Christ Church Cathedral.

 

  • National Chamber Choir in partnership with the Association of Irish Choirs and the Contemporary Music Centre will host a series of exciting pop-up events across Dublin.

 

  • The Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania present the 20 members of traditional folk music and dance group Lietuviskas Dobilas in Meeting House Square at 7pm.

 

  • OuterSpaceways Inc. and their followers will pay tribute to the legendary jazz bandleader Sun Ra through a series of guerilla performances around Dublin culminating in a performance at Meeting House Square, Temple Bar.

 

  • Ennis loves live music presents Clare Connections featuring Lunasa.

 

  • Irish Chamber Orchestra Sing Out With Strings 5th anniversary concert in University Concert Hall, Limerick, featuring 300+ students aged 4 to 14 from schools around the city.

 

  • RTE National Symphony Orchestra and young European guest soloists’ open rehearsal in the National Concert Hall.

 

  • Choral gathering in Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, Dublin, to which anyone interested in joining a pop-up choir at lunch-time is more than welcome to do so. No previous choral singing experience is necessary, and the bigger the choir, the bigger the fun!

Other event highlights include:

  • The Dublin City Council’s Dublin Street Music Programme – a day long busking event.

 

  • Music City! A day long celebration of music through free live events as part of Derry City of Culture.

 

  • Na Piobairi Uilleann’s series of Try the Pipes performances and workshops in shopping centres around Ireland, and jazz/hip-hop improvisers.

 

  • Mixtapes from the Underground at the Wellington Weekender Festival in The Workman’s Club in Dublin.

To find out more and for a full list of all events registered across the country, log onto www.lovelivemusic.ie

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 www.hiddenhearing.ie.

 

Strimmers are worse than motorway traffic

strimmers

Motorway maintenance workers are exposed to various harmful emissions. Surprisingly, motorised hand-held tools such as strimmers and chainsaws, rather than motorway traffic, are responsible for the highest emissions of particulate matter. These are the conclusions of a study supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

The study was conducted between May 2010 and February 2012 by researchers working with Michael Riediker at the Institute for Work and Health in Lausanne. They accompanied 18 maintenance workers on 50 working days during tasks such as clearing snow, mending crash barriers, cleaning drains, cutting wood or mowing grass on the motorway central reservation. They measured the levels of air pollution, particulates and noise to which workers were exposed during each activity. The result: compared to the average population, maintenance workers are exposed to between three and eight times higher particulate levels. In addition, noise levels often exceed the critical level of 85 decibels.

Surprisingly, motorway traffic is not the main source of noise and pollutants. More than 50 percent of airborne particulates are emitted by strimmers and chainsaws. The small combustion engines which the workers carry on their backs use petrol with oil additives. This makes them real belchers,” says Reto Meier, the lead author of the study. The quickest way to reduce particulate levels, therefore, is to improve the engines in these machines. This is primarily a challenge for the manufacturers, but Meier adds that employers can also play a role by considering emission levels when purchasing equipment.

Hearing protection
Maintenance workers are exposed to the highest noise levels when using pneumatic drills. But the use of strimmers or chainsaws and the traffic during maintenance work in tunnels also give rise to noise levels of 90 decibels or more. Researchers noticed that workers wear hearing protection reliably when they are the cause of the noise, but often fail to do so when the noise is caused by their colleagues or by the traffic.

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 http://www.hiddenhearing.ie.

Avoid The High Cost Of Hearing Loss

Breaker905Many cases of hearing loss are due to excessive noise. With power tools, motorcycles, movies, lawn mowers and music players capable of producing noise levels above 85 decibels (dB), there is no shortage of sounds that put hearing at risk. Prolonged exposure to noises louder than 85 dB can damage your hearing permanently.

“Too many people are losing their hearing because of noise exposure,” says Dr. Laurie Wells, an audiologist in 3M’s hearing protection business. “Noise-induced hearing loss is irreversible and costly—and not just to your pocketbook, but more importantly, to your overall well-being. Hearing loss negatively affects the most fundamental need we have as humans: the ability to communicate with each other. Evidence suggests that people who suffer from hearing loss are less social and more apt to report depression and anxiety.”

Protection Is Key

The good news is that noise-induced hearing loss is 100 percent preventable. People can significantly reduce their noise exposure by wearing hearing protection, avoiding repeated exposure to loud noises, and participating in hearing loss prevention programs at work.

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 www.hiddenhearing.ie.

Sound Advice For Fans Of Ear-Bashing Music

Festival

Summer music festivals great and small are about to be unleashed, but revellers should remember how important it is to protect their ears. In a survey of 2,711 festival-goers in 2008, 84pc said they experienced dullness of hearing or ringing in the ears after listening to loud music.

These are the first signs of hearing damage. The next morning or a couple of days later, your hearing may gradually return to normal, but over time, with continued exposure, there can be permanent damage. The risk of damage to hearing is based on how loud the music is and how long you listen to it for.

If you can’t talk to someone two metres away without shouting, the noise level could be damaging. The dangers to hearing are just as serious at an open-air music festival as they are in an indoor nightclub. Volumes of 137 decibels have been recorded near the stages at some music festivals.

At 140 decibels, which is the same as a jet plane taking off at close range, your ears start hurting. The advice is to wear earplugs for music, stand away from the speakers and take regular breaks from the loudest areas. DJs and musicians have been wearing earplugs for years, and many recommend them to fans. These earplugs are designed specifically for clubs and gigs and don’t muffle sound. There are different types of earplugs available, from the affordable and re-usable one-size-fits-all to custom moulds used by musicians and DJs. Most of them work by reducing the noise level that reaches your ear. This means you can still hear the music the way it is, but at a lower volume.

If you hear tingling or buzzing after listening to a set, give your ears a break. You risk more damage if you don’t.

Wear re-usable earplugs, stand well away from the enormous speakers and spend some downtime at the festival’s chill-out area.

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 http://www.hiddenhearing.ie