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.

 

Deaf to the dangers of loud gym music?

Sonic doom: pumping up the volume can result in permanent hearing damage

Sonic doom: pumping up the volume can result in permanent hearing damage

A paper titled Noise levels in fitness classes still too high was published in the Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health last month. As its title suggests, it backs up what many of us have long hypothesised – that sound levels in high-intensity gym classes are often way too high.

85 per cent of instructors found loud music motivating, whereas about one-fifth of clients found it stressful. 

As part of the study, noise levels were tested during 35 low-intensity and 65 high-intensity classes in 1997-98 and again in 2009-11. The study assessed noise levels at four different gyms. Permission was obtained from the management and instructors of the participating gyms to measure noise levels during selected classes and questionnaires distributed to clients and instructors.

Instructors and clients were asked about their preferred music volume levels and whether they found loud music “stressful” or “motivating”. Turns out, instructors prefer much higher volumes than clients for high-intensity classes. In both studies, about 85 per cent of instructors found loud music motivating, whereas about one-fifth of clients found it stressful.

Noise levels in both time periods were similar, averaging at about 93.1 decibels. Noise levels in low-intensity classes dropped from 88.9dB to 85.6dB. Happily that means classes like yoga are getting quieter, and given their very nature that makes sense, but sound levels in, for example, spin classes, are still spinning out of control.

The author of the paper, research psychologist at the National Acoustic Laboratories, Elizabeth Beach, says it’s time for more awareness around the issue. “Fitness class providers are trying to make their classes like nightclubs to entice people in the doors which is not necessary,” she says. “Another strategy could be to vary tempo as opposed to turning the volume up to dangerous levels.” For young people the damage is often done during their leisure time when they listen to loud music on electronic devices or visit nightclubs or live concert venues. Often the damage is done,and because hearing issues often don’t materialise until later in life, people tend to put off worrying about it.

Those who have complained about decibel levels at my gym many times, in particular in instructors’ spin classes, only to be told to “wear ear plugs if you can’t handle it”. Question is, if members do develop hearing problems in the future could these matters be ones for the courts to handle? Do gyms have a duty of care to members?

 A rule of thumb is that if you think the music is way too loud then it probably is.

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.

 

Manchester United tackles sound problems at Old Trafford

The engineer will look at why sound does not travel across the stadium

The engineer will look at why sound does not travel across the stadium

Manchester United have appointed an acoustic engineer to try and find out why singing at Old Trafford does not carry to all areas of the ground.

The sound specialist has attended one game this season and will gather information at others in an attempt to pinpoint the problem.

Noise levels at the stadium have been derided by opposition supporters and United fan groups.

One fan group said a “safe-standing” area would fix the issue.

A spokesman for the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association said such areas would allow those who wanted stand to do so and as a result would improve the level of singing and chanting.

He said: “For many, many years now, fans have been told to sit down, shut up and take what they are given.

“Well now they are sat down, and they have shut up – and the club don’t like it.

“Fans are allowed to stand at moments of high excitement [but] when they are forced to sit – as they often are at Old Trafford – they make less noise.

“They should also look at having a section of the ground where like-minded fans could be in the same place, because we recognise standing is an issue for some and not for others.”

He added that the club also needed to “turn the music off before games to give fans a chance to make some noise themselves”.

The club has previously tried to relocate away supporters in order to create a section for supporters who wanted to sing, but that was met with opposition from police over safety issues.

A club spokesman said discussions were ongoing but the need to relocate season ticket holders in order to create any such section meant it could take several years to create.

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.

Loud music made her nearly deaf

1A former VIP hostess at the Midtown nightclub Lavo is suing the venue, claiming the loud music made her nearly deaf in one ear, according to a published report.

Margaret Clemente told the New York Post that she complained to her bosses about the noise at the nightclub, at 39 E. 58th St., but they made things difficult and she eventually quit.

Clemente told the newspaper management did provide earplugs, but they were cheaply made and did not block out the noise.

She said her hearing loss made it more and more difficult to communicate at work using a mandated radio earpiece that alerted her about other staff members and A-listers who came to the club, the newspaper reported.

A New York Times investigation in July of last year said the thumping music is 96 decibels at Lavo – comparable to standing next to a power meter.