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

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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.

 

Rumer Willis: Don’t be too tough on dad, he can’t hear

 

Bruce Willis’ actress daughter Rumer has defended her dad from critics who have blasted him for appearing awkward in interviews, revealing he probably can’t hear the questions properly.

She insists the Die Hard star doesn’t go out of his way to be less than talkative when promoting movies, but a hearing loss issue means he is always struggling to make out what is being said by interviewers.

Rumer, who is Willis’ eldest daughter with ex-wife Demi Moore, explains, “I think part of the problem is sometimes he can’t hear … because he shot a gun off next to his ear when he was doing Die Hard a long time ago, so he has partial hearing loss in his ears.

“If me and my sisters get together and he’s at a dinner table and we start talking about fashion and things, the poor guy…”

Willis’ daughter also feels her dad has a reputation as an edgy, cool guy to keep up: “I think he just has this vibe where he feels like he’s gotta kinda do a cool man (thing).”

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.

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 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.

Liam Gallagher reveals he has tinnitus like brother Noel

Liam Gallagher

Both brothers experience a ‘ringing’ in their ears when no actual sound is present

Beady Eye frontman Liam’s Gallagher has revealed that he suffers from tinnitus – the condition that causes a ‘ringing’ in the ears when no actual sound is present.

The condition affects a number of musicians who’ve been subjected to large amounts of loud noise over the years. Both Chris Martin of Coldplay and The Who’s Pete Townshend are sufferers and Liam’s brother Noel revealed he was diagnosed earlier this year (2013).

“Without a doubt I have tinnitus. You’re not a proper rock’n’roll star if you don’t,” Liam told The Sun after Beady Eye’s instore gig at London’s Rough Trade East on Monday (June 10). “I learned to live with it a long time ago. I put up with it – I just talk really loudly over it. I’m proud of it. Anyone who doesn’t have ringing in their ears can *!@% right off.”

For more information on tinnitus click here

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.

Keeping Up With. . . . . Hearing Loss

KUK 2

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 www.hiddenhearing.ie.

Half of Dubliners exposed to dangerous decibels

DUB Dublin - bus stop in front of Clerys department store on O Connell Street 3008x2000Noise-induced hearing loss is an increasingly prevalent disorder that results from exposure to high-intensity sound. According to a recent study by Dublin city’s local authorities more than half of Dublin’s population is exposed to undesirable noise levels.

Although preventable, it can sometimes be difficult to avoid as we are exposed to excessive noise levels doing routine activities on a daily basis. Of the 1.28m people living in Dublin, 56% are affected by noise emanating from heavy road traffic, aircrafts or trains.

The findings are contained in a new mapping action plan which is designed to identify and quieten the capital’s noisiest neighbourhoods. Dublin’s four local authorities are working together on the map, which will take five years to complete.

The number of people exposed to undesirable night-time noise levels above 55 decibels reduced from 94% in 2008 to 22% in 2012, but 1% or 3,700 people still suffer night-time sound levels above 70 decibels.

In the day time, 46,800 Dubliners are exposed to levels above 70 decibels. A further 12,600 put up with noise levels over 75 decibels. This is down from 24,000 in 2008.

The Noise Action Plan will run from December 2013 to November 2018, and includes efforts to address heavy traffic flow in the loudest neighbourhoods.

In 2008, the first noise map of Ireland singled out the M50 as the worst noise polluter in Dublin, exposing nearby residents to a din as loud as a twin-engined jet at take-off.

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.