Sound Advice

Is Technology Use Is Damaging our Children’s Hearing?

December 19, 2019

U.S. Parents Worry Popular Technology Use Is Damaging Their Children’s Hearing But Still Plan to Purchase Tech Gifts This Holiday Season

ASHA Shares “Safe Listening” Advice This Cyber Week

ROCKVILLE, Md. (December 3, 2019) A new national poll of more than 1,100 parents of children under age 18 finds that seven in 10 parents are concerned about their child developing hearing damage from listening to popular technology devices such as music players, tablets, and smartphones—and 86% think their children listen to their devices at volumes that are too loud.

Commissioned by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and conducted by YouGov November 1–5, 2019, the polling also shows that despite concerns, over half of parents plan to purchase a tech-related gift for their child this holiday season.

“With the holiday shopping season in full swing, many parents are purchasing personal technology devices as well as related accessories such as earbuds or headphones for their kids,” said Shari Robertson, PhD, CCC-SLP, ASHA 2019 President. “For us, this is the ideal time to encourage smart shopping habits for parents as well as offer safe listening advice they can impart to kids as they give them these gifts.”


Source

https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8460154-asha-safe-listening-tips-holiday-poll/

Business in the Gig Economy

December 13, 2019

The gig economy is coming, and the manufacturing sector needs to prepare.

The gig economy is coming, and the manufacturing sector needs to prepare.

In this type of system, independent workers are paid by the gig, typically a specific project, and when that project is complete, the worker moves on. It’s a setup that is particularly appealing to millennials and is widespread in the IT and entertainment industries.

It is expected that within the next two years millennials will become the largest portion of the workforce demographic, and many of these workers will be employed as independent contractors. This is a dramatic change from the status quo, and it requires companies to form a strategy on managing what could be a constantly changing workforce.

Gig workers have a clear understanding of the work-life balance that they want, and they put as much emphasis on the life side of the equation as they do on the work side.

But jobs in the manufacturing sector are rooted in the long-standing tradition of advancing along an established career path. While the apprentice/journeyperson/master model has been replaced by the worker/team leader/manager model in many shops, the progression still takes time and commitment from both the employee and the employer.

Gig workers simply parachute into a company for a set amount of time and then leave once the task is done.

It’s a foreign concept for many manufacturers.

In his paper “Independent Workers: What Role for Public Policy?” American economist Alan Krueger wrote that currently the number of gig economy workers in the manufacturing sector is low. However, the longer the skilled-trades gap remains an issue for manufacturers, the more desperate they will get to find any type of worker to fill open jobs.

Because the manufacturing sector is having such trouble finding workers to fill full-time jobs, the gig economy could be a way to solve this problem, at least on a project-by-project basis.

Hearing protection

To survive in the gig economy, manufacturers must blaze their own trail and not try to copy other sectors.

No matter what type of worker is employed, a focus on productivity and quality still must be maintained.

In the gig economy, manufacturers should focus on a worker’s skill set and ability to mesh with a team, rather than the amount of time they will stay with the company.

JOE THOMPSON, EDITOR

jthompson@canadianmetalworking.com


SOURCE

https://www.canadianmetalworking-digital.com/canadianmetalworking/december_2019/MobilePagedArticle.action?articleId=1544279&app=false#articleId1544279

Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention Resources – please share!

December 9, 2019

Noise and Hearing Loss Prevention

Loud noise can damage hearing or cause permanent hearing loss. Dangerous noise levels can be found in workplaces such as industrial, commercial and retail and  recreational settings like restaurants, stadiums, and clubs; in the classroom; or even on our own personal audio devices.

hear in nose

What is a safe noise level?

We record noise levels in decibels, or dBA. The higher the noise level, the louder the noise.

You can listen to sounds at 70 dBA or lower for as long as you want. Sounds at 85 dBA can lead to hearing loss if you listen to them for more than 8 hours at a time. For personal listening devices, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a volume of no more than 80 dBA for adults and 75 dBA for children.

WHO Standard for Safe Listening

Hearing

ASHA Resources for Hearing Loss Prevention

How ASHA Promotes Hearing Health

Besides the resources above, ASHA is very active in promoting hearing health and raising the profile of hearing issues on many domestic and international fronts.

Domestically:

  • From the first days of digital media, ASHA has been a national leader raising concerns about the potential impact of unhealthy personal audio device use. For a decade, ASHA’s Listen to Your Buds campaign put on “safe listening concerts” in schools nationwide to educate children about hearing health.
  • ASHA’s Healthy Communication & Popular Technology Initiative focuses on raising public awareness about the importance of healthy usage of personal audio devices.
  • Launched in 2013, ASHA’s Identify the Signs campaign is dedicated to educating the public about the warning signs of communication disorders and the importance of acting quickly at the first sign of trouble.
  • In 2011, ASHA partnered with AARP in assessing the hearing health of its members; polling indicated a significant degree of untreated hearing loss and led to ASHA’s Speak Up for Hearing Loss national campaign that encouraged people to seek professional guidance and help with hearing care.

Internationally:

  • At WHO’s request, ASHA serves as an ongoing advisor on the Make Listening Safe campaign, a WHO initiative that produced the first global standard for safe listening on personal devices.
  • ASHA is a member of the World Hearing Forum, a WHO-established global network of stakeholders dedicated to promoting ear and hearing care worldwide.
  • Through a digital campaign, ASHA participates annually in World Hearing Day (March 3), raising awareness and educating the public about hearing-related issues.
  • ASHA is a founder of the International Communication Project, which is dedicated to raising the profile of communication disorders with global policymakers.

To learn more about hearing protection and hearing conservation check out our resources:

Custom Protect Ear Hearing Resources

Hearing Protection 

Hearing Conservation 

NOISE-RELATED HEARING LOSS VIDEO (See below)


SOURCE

https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Noise-and-Hearing-Loss-Prevention/

Critical ways to protect your ears

December 7, 2019

Once your hearing is damaged, it’s gone for good. That’s why we raise awareness about the prevalence of hearing loss, the importance of early diagnosis, and the options for taking action to find the best hearing solution for your needs. We are seeing an influx of wearers requesting using custom hearing protection over disposable – Click here to learn more. 

Don’t wait until it’s too late to start taking care of your ears! Here are nine easy ways to protect your ears and your hearing health.

 

1. Use hearing protection around loud, intense noises

Earplugs

Approximately 15% of Americans have noise-induced hearing loss because of loud work or leisure environments.

Clubs, concerts, lawnmowers, chainsaws, and any other noises that force you to shout so the person next to you can hear your voice all create dangerous levels of sound. Earplugs are convenient and easy to obtain. You can even have a pair custom fitted for your ears by your local hearing healthcare provider.

Musicians’ earplugs are custom earplugs with filters that allow a person to hear conversations and music but still reduce harmful sound levels while maintaining the quality of the original sound as closely as possible.

2. Turn the volume down

Headphones

According to the World Health Organization, 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults worldwide are at risk for noise-induced hearing loss from unsafe use of audio devices.

If you like to enjoy music through headphones or earbuds, you can protect your ears by following the 60/60 rule. The suggestion is to listen with headphones at no more than 60% volume for no more than 60 minutes a day.

Earbuds are especially dangerous, as they fit directly next to the eardrum. If possible, opt for over-the-ear headphones.

Don’t forget that any loud music, not just music played through headphones, presents a risk for noise-induced hearing loss. If you’re hosting a social event, keep the music at a volume which won’t force people to shout in order to hold a conversation

3. Give your ears time to recover

Relaxing

If you are exposed to loud noises for a prolonged period of time, like at a concert or a bar, your ears need time to recover. If you can, step outside for five minutes every so often in order to let them rest.

What’s more, researchers have found that your ears need an average of 16 hours of quiet to recover from one loud night out.

4. Stop using cotton swabs in your ears

Q-tips

It’s common for people to use cotton swabs to clean wax out of their ear canal, but this is definitely not advisable. A little bit of wax in your ears is not only normal, but it’s also important. The ears are self-cleaning organs, and wax stops dust and other harmful particles from entering the canal. Plus, inserting anything inside your ear canals risks damaging sensitive organs like your ear drum.

If you have excess wax, you can clean around the canal with a damp towel—gently. You could also use ear wax removal solution over the course of a few nights. This softens the wax so that it will eventually flow out on its own. The best solution is always to seek a professional opinion and care when possible.

5. Take medications only as directed

Doctor

Certain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen, can sometimes contribute to hearing loss. Discuss medications with your doctor if you’re concerned that they’ll impact your hearing ability and take them only as directed.

6. Keep your ears dry

Drying Off

Excess moisture can allow bacteria to enter and attack the ear canal. This can cause swimmer’s ear or other types of ear infections, which can be dangerous for your hearing ability. Be sure you gently towel-dry your ears after bathing or swimming. If you can feel water in the ear, tilt your head to the side and tug lightly on the ear lobe to coax the water out.

You can also ensure that your ears stay dry and healthy by using custom-fit swimmers’ earplugs, which block water from entering the ear canal. They’re great for adults and kids alike, and they work wonders in preventing swimmer’s ear. Make an appointment with your local hearing health professional to get fitted.

 

7. Get up and move

Fitness

Did you know that exercise is good for your ears? It’s true. Cardio exercises like walking, running, or cycling gets the blood pumping to all parts of your body, including the ears. This helps the ears’ internal parts stay healthy and working to their maximum potential.

Make sure to stay safe! When cycling, always wear a helmet. If you fall and hit your head, a concussion can harm your hearing.

8. Manage stress levels

Hammock

Stress and anxiety have been linked to both temporary and permanent tinnitus (a phantom ringing in the ears). High levels of stress cause your body to go into fight or flight mode, which is an instinctual reaction that fills your body with adrenaline to help you either fight or flee from danger. This process puts a lot of pressure on your nerves, blood flow, body heat, and more. It’s commonly thought that this pressure and stress can travel up into your inner ear and contribute to tinnitus symptoms.

9. Get regular checkups

Otoscope

Ask your primary care physician to incorporate hearing screenings into your regular checkups. Because hearing loss develops gradually, it’s also recommended that you have annual hearing consultations with a hearing healthcare professional. That way, you’ll be more likely to recognize signs of hearing loss and take action as soon as you do.

Taking action is important because untreated hearing loss, besides detracting from quality of life and the strength of relationships, has been linked to other health concerns like depression, dementia, and heart disease.

Do your ears a favor get customized or personal hearing protection. Learn more . 

Hearing Loss Tips for a Loud Thanksgiving

November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving is a time to gather together with the people we’re grateful for. It usually means a family dinner is on the way. A dinner  filled with music, laughter, and conversation, a lot of it – all at once – and typically in a small room. As you can probably imagine, it can be a very difficult sound environment for someone with hearing loss to make out what’s being said.

 

Holidays can present an intimidating challenge for the millions of people with hearing loss. We wanted to compile some tips and suggestions for making it through the holidays with hearing loss. First up, how to be mindful of our hard of hearing friends and loved ones at Thanksgiving.

 

Let Your Family Know

One of the first things that comes to mind around Thanksgiving is family. While everyone is completely entitled to handle  their hearing loss as privately as they would like, most hearing professionals will suggest letting your family know. When everyone is on the same page, it gives others the opportunity to be more mindful. Hearing loss is never something to hide or feel ashamed about, let it be known and hopefully it improves the level of communication.

Thanksgiving is a time when we get together to catch up and talk about the changes in our lives with people that love us. Take the opportunity to be open and honest about your hearing loss while everyone is together. As long as you feel comfortable, speaking to others you’re close to about your hearing loss can significantly improve your odds of hearing more clearly at any family event.

According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, nearly twenty percent of the U.S. population lives with some form of hearing loss. If your Thanksgiving group consists of 10 people, regardless of age, it’s possible that at least two of them may be having a slightly more difficult time hearing than you thought.

thanksgiving

The reality is that many people will go to their holiday festivities and essentially “fake their way” through conversations, rather than politely asking others to be mindful of their hearing loss. Often, a level of pride or even embarrassment can prevent them from revealing their hearing loss.

This might lead to attempts at reading lips, nodding, or agreeing to some part of what was said, without comprehending fully. With speech being one of the more difficult frequencies – it’s no easy task to make out individual voices clearly among the cacophony of other sounds around the table.

Conversation matters

The most difficult everyday circumstance for those with hearing loss is a conversation. Trouble understanding speech, in particular, has led to significant improvements in the speech-enhancement technology being developed in modern hearing aids.One of the most surefire ways to improve your ability to hear and converse with other is by wearing hearing aids. They are able to do more than just amplify the noise, but can also make it clear. Hearing aids channel sound through certain frequency ranges in order to make them more understandable.

If you have a friend or family member who is reluctant or hesitant about integrating hearing aids into their life – give them a helpful nudge in the right direction. Suggest a hearing a hearing test to determine the level of hearing loss and learn more about the types of hearing aids available from a professional.

Tips for Able-Hearing Family Members

There are other things you can do to ensure your friends or loved ones with hearing loss still feel part of the conversation. Cut the background music. Music can blend the sounds together from the start – so can loud TVs. You can also make it a point to sit closer together. Get comfortable, get close. You’ll hear and be heard better.

If everyone is making a unified effort to improve the level of communication in the room, there will be far less guessing of words or saying, “What?” At the same time, if someone does ask you to repeat yourself or asks, “what was that?” – don’t shrug it off with a “never mind” or “don’t worry about it.” This can come off as unintentionally dismissive, creating further detachment from the conversation.

This Thanksgiving, before you wonder what spices to marinate your turkey in, remember to think about how you can help those in your family with hearing loss overcome the “Thanksgiving dinner jitters.” After all, you may be saving the holidays for them entirely and relieve their nerves for Christmas dinner.

From all of us at Protect Ear – Happy thanksgiving!


SOURCE – https://bloomhearing.com/hearing-tips/hearing-loss-tips-for-a-loud-thanksgiving/

How the Cold or Flu Causes Hearing Loss

November 19, 2019

Winter and cold & flu season is coming

The cold and flu season is coming. Everyone is familiar with the dreaded symptoms of a cold or flu, but did you know that those symptoms can include hearing loss? The hearing loss associated with a cold or flu generally comes as a result of the congestion build up in the sinuses and ears. Like the other symptoms, the hearing loss is usually temporary but can add to the misery of being sick.

How the Cold or Flu Causes Hearing Loss

Hearing loss when you are sick is not uncommon. When you have a cold or the flu, congestion builds up in the middle ear which makes it hard for the sound waves to travel through the ear. In addition, the eustachian tubes in the back of the throat can become blocked and their function is to help regulate air pressure in the middle ear. Either of these issues can muffle sound and make it difficult to discern speech. Other related ear related symptoms during a cold or flu can include balance problems and/or tinnitus (ringing in the ears). The resulting conductive hearing loss usually dissipates along with all the other cold and flu symptoms.

In some very rare occasions, the flu virus can affect the nerves in the ear and cause permanent hearing damage. If you do experience hearing loss during a sickness, keep your doctor or audiologist in the loop, especially if the hearing loss isn’t getting better when other symptoms begin to go away.

Winter season

Does Cold Weather Cause Ear Infections?

When the weather turns cold, many people experience pain or discomfort in their ears, nose and throat. People often confuse symptoms caused by cold weather

Contrary to popular belief, cold weather does not cause ear infections. An ear infection is caused by bacteria in the upper respiratory system that travels up the Eustachian tube into the middle ear.

Even though cold weather doesn’t cause the issue, it can make symptoms more pronounced. If you or your child are experiencing symptoms, seek treatment. Studies show that recurring ear infections can cause hearing loss.

How do you prevent cold-induced ear pain?

While you can’t prevent an ear infection from developing, you can prevent ear pain that comes from decreased blood circulation in cold weather. Whenever you’re outside, be sure to cover your ears with a winter hat or ear muffs. This will provide warmth and protect you after coming back inside. Another solution to protecting your ears is also getting a custom hearing protection device to wear in the ear under the ear muffs. This will block out the cold as well as high intense noise. To learn more check out dB Blockers

 


SOURCE

https://www.hearingbalance.com/hearing-blog/how-to-protect-your-ears-during-the-cold-and-flu-season

Noisey Workplace:  The Importance Of Hearing Protection

October 8, 2019

Hearing Protection In The Workplace

When does hearing loss, or hearing impairment, become the result of a work-related exposure?  After all, we live in a world where loud noises are common, like from heavy city traffic, or even the music so kindly being shared through the open windows of the car stopped next to you.  And there’s often that person who thinks headphones are speakers and has the music playing loud enough that it can be heard by everyone in the room.  So yes, loud noise is common.  And yes, loud noise can lead to hearing loss.

There is no denying that the tools that we use in our lines of work create loud noise, too, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that employees will lose their hearing.  With the proper workplace hearing protection controls in place to eliminate, reduce, and protect against potentially damaging noise exposures, we reduce the chances that our employees will experience occupational hearing loss.

productive workers

Understanding Hearing Damage 

How loud does the noise need to be to damage a person’s hearing?  Hearing loss can occur when exposed to 85 decibels of noise averaged over 8 hours.  Let’s put this in perspective.  Normal conversations typically occur at 60 decibels, well below the hearing loss threshold.  Remember those headphones used as speakers?  That music was probably playing at full volume, which can often register as 105 decibels.  Here’s the thing, though.  For every 3 decibel increase past 85 decibels, hearing loss can occur in half the amount of time.  So it only takes 4 hours of exposure to 88 decibels for hearing loss to occur, and 2 hours of exposure to 91 decibels.  Once noise levels exceed 100 decibels, a person can suffer hearing damage in as little as 15 minutes.  The louder the noise, the faster hearing loss occurs.

ISO 9001

Noise Levels In The Workplace

Where do the tools and environments where we work fit into this picture?

  • Air compressors from 3 feet away register 92 decibels, which would take less than 2 hours to cause hearing loss

  • Powered drills register 98 decibels, which would cause damage after 30 minutes

  • Typical factories often register at 100 decibels – that’s 15 minutes of exposure

  • Powered saws can reach 110 decibels from 3 feet away, which could cause permanent hearing loss in under 2 minuteshearing protection

In short, if workers are exposed to these noise levels without protection, then hearing loss is very likely.  The only way to know the exact noise levels that workers are exposed to is to conduct noise monitoring using specialized equipment, though this is only required when exposures are at or above 85 decibels.  Some indications that noise levels may be this high are if employees complain about the loudness of the noise, if there are signs suggesting that employees are losing their hearing, or if the noise levels make normal conversation difficult.  Also consider that these conditions may not occur across the entire work site, but may be limited to a specific task or piece of machinery.

How then, do we protect our employees and their hearing?

The Importance Of Hearing Protection In The Workplace

The best protection we can provide is to eliminate the hazard, by eliminating the need to work with the tools or in the environments that create these noise exposures.  Realistically, though, this isn’t always possible.  We can also work to reduce the noise levels that employees are exposed to.  Some tools and machines are available that are designed to operate at lower decibels, therefore reducing the risk of hearing loss. 

We can also implement administrative controls, such as placing a cap on the number of hours that an employee can work in a high decibel environment, or limit the hours working with specific tools and equipment.

Our final line of protection is our PPE that meets OSHA hearing protection requirements.  Ear plugs, Custom Hearing Protection and ear muffs can reduce the decibel exposures, providing protection against hearing loss.  Ear plugs provide the greatest amount of protection as long as they are inserted correctly.  Therefore, employees need to be trained to wear them correctly when they are used.  Ear muffs can also reduce the decibel exposures, though not to the extent that ear plugs can.  They are easier to wear correctly, though, which is why some workers prefer them.

Some high decibel exposures may be unavoidable to perform the tasks necessary for our operations, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t take steps to protect employees and their hearing while at work.  What they do in their free time, like attending a rock concert (which can peak at 130 decibels), becomes their choice.

Creating & Implementing A Plan For Workplace Hearing Protection

If you need to create or update your safety management plan to include OSHA hearing protection. 


SOURCE

https://www.optimumsafetymanagement.com/blog/noise-importance-hearing-protection-workplace/