Some sounds that you miss with early stages of hearing loss

SizzlingIn most cases, hearing loss symptoms occur slowly over time, often impacting high-frequency sounds first.  Common “noise” and sounds become harder to pick up and soon it may begin impacting social interaction. We thought about some of the everyday sounds  typically taken for granted and began to wonder about the little things that would be missing. Here are our top 5

Bacon sizzling on a frying pan     

A child’s first words

Birds singing in the early morning

The crackling of an open fire

First whistle of a boiling kettle

This list give you a better idea of the types of sounds you might not miss with even a small amount of hearing loss.  Even small sounds that you might not even know you are missing, can start to affect the quality of  your life. If you have begun to notice that you may be missing some of these common sounds, you may want to consider getting your hearing checked by a hearing professional.

 

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.

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.

3 steps to combat hearing loss

carpenter-hearing-loss-thumbnailairport-staffAn estimated 275 million people across the globe can’t hear clearly all the sounds they love. These people suffer from hearing loss, which the World Health Organization lists as the No. 1 sensory disability in the world.

Some people never had their hearing, as they were born deaf, but the majority had something happen along the way that took it from them. Infectious diseases like meningitis, measles, mumps and chronic ear infections, as well as head and ear injuries, and aging all can contribute to hearing loss.

But perhaps the most common cause is excessive noise. Whether it’s a one-time exposure to an intense, “impulse” sound, like gunfire, or by repeated exposure to loud sounds over time, like machinery at work, noise has the potential to rob people of their hearing.

The effects of hearing loss extend well beyond having to turn up the television. It strains a person’s ability to understand conversations, which can cause problems and misunderstandings at work and at home. Hearing loss also leads to isolation from family, friends and the environment.

“The good news is noise-induced hearing loss is preventable,” says Dolores Madden of Hidden Hearing. “So many people could be spared from it, if they just took a few easy steps.”

Step 1: Wear hearing protection

The most important step to preventing hearing loss is to wear hearing protection.

“There are many great hearing protection options, but sometimes it’s a challenge to know which to choose and how and when to wear it correctly,” says Madden. “Hearing protection is now available that is comfortable, fits well, and includes options to enhance communication – like microphones and two-way radio connections for people who need them.”

Step 2: Be mindful around the clock

Sounds louder than 85 decibels (dBA) are more common than people might think. Prolonged exposure to these high-level sounds can permanently damage your hearing, and cause ringing in the ears, along with other symptoms. Most people don’t carry decibel meters, so it’s good to know where those sound levels can occur. Some examples include:

* Attending a football game (100 to 120 dBA)

* Using a leaf blower or chainsaw (95-120 dBA)

* Riding a motorcycle (80-110 dBA)

* Using a lawn mower (82-103 dBA)

* Attending a rock concert (90-120 dBA)

* Listening to a personal music player (75-114 dBA)

* Watching a movie at the theater (72-104 dBA)

Hearing these sounds occasionally, for a limited time, isn’t a major threat to hearing. But repeated exposure to loud sounds can cause hearing damage over time. Many people – like mine workers, police officers, construction workers, farmers and others, work in noise that is 85 dBA or higher every day on the job. As a result, noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common occupational diseases and the second most self-reported occupational illness, according to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Step 3: Reduce the volume or increase distance

Work-related noise might be unavoidable, but many times, you can be in control of the noise around you. Whenever possible, select quieter vacuums, chain saws, leaf blowers, power tools, etc. Also, be aware that the volume controls on portable entertainment devices can exceed 110 dBA – levels that may be hazardous if you listen for many hours a day. Lower the volume and limit how long you listen to them. If you aren’t able to turn down loud sounds you encounter, take a few steps back from the source of the loud sound. Even a few feet of distance between you and a loud sound can lower the decibel levels that hit you.

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.

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.

Doctors report 50% hearing loss among mobile phone users

Blog picWe’ve spoken before about the harmful effects of MP3 players to hearing but doctors in India are now reporting as much as 50% hearing loss among mobile phone users.

 

ENT surgeons have been getting many patients who complain of pain in the ears and even hearing loss.  The most common complaint is that after people hang up the phone their ears gets hot and many patients also complain about tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

 

But the most serious ENT problem is hearing loss.  If a person continues to use the phone excessively, it may turn into a permanent problem.  Hearing loss depends on the decibel level of sound and the duration for which one is exposed.

 

The advice is to decrease the amount of time spent talking on the mobile phone, use a landline instead or text.  Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide.   Freephone 1800 370 000 or 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.