During Football Season, Local Audiologist Makes Noise About Hearing Protection
Bartlesville, OK — This October is the American Academy of Audiology’s National Audiology Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about audiology and the importance of hearing protection. Making this topic relevant and timely to the community, Advanced Hearing Care reminds football fans (and arena-sports fans alike) that the best offense against hearing loss is a good defense.
“Your hearing is a key element to fully enjoying your time at the game. Ironically, the things we love — from cheering and jeering to the halftime performance — are all things that could hurt our hearing. The better you protect your hearing, the longer you’ll be able to experience the things you love,” says Stephanie Moore, Audiologist, of Advanced Hearing Care
Loud stadiums have become a source of pride for fans and teams across the country, but with stadium noise exceeding safe decibel (sound pressure) levels, it’s also a source of hearing loss. Cheering fans can push decibel (dB) levels well into the hundreds. At these levels, it only takes 1 to 15 minutes for the sound to damage your ears.
“Cheering while the away team is in a huddle gives football fans the opportunity to get in on the action, but football isn’t the only sport that puts fans at risk. From vuvuzelas to referee whistles and fireworks, loud noise at sporting events is something all spectators should be aware of,” says Dr. Moore. “The more awareness we raise about noise-induced hearing loss [NIHL], the more people we can help.”
NIHL is damage done to the ears by exposure to loud noise; the amount of damage is dependent upon the decibel level and the length of time you’re exposed. Repeated exposure to sound levels above 85 dB can cause permanent hearing loss. Rather than not being able to hear at all, high-frequency sounds are usually the first to go, meaning you may be unable to hear s, f, sh, ch, h, or soft c sounds.
National Audiology Awareness Month encourages regular hearing checkups combined with hearing protection to preserve hearing health. The focus includes helping those living with untreated hearing loss by offering educational pieces around technological advances in hearing aids.
Stephanie Moore, AuD
Advanced Hearing Care
About Advanced Hearing Care- Advanced Hearing Care is a full-service audiology practice proud to be bringing better hearing to the people of Bartlesville for 11 years. From Bartlesville our AudigyCertified™ hearing care practice has helped thousands of patients with their hearing, tinnitus, and balance disorders — and offers state-of-the-art diagnostic testing and expert fitting of hearing technology.
Advanced Hearing Care Works to Keep Hearing Safe This Summer
Bartlesville, OK – Summer is in full swing, and barbecues, vacations, and events with family members are a big aspect of the season. “Each season new memories are made that can’t be substituted or re-created,” said Stephanie Moore, AuD of Advanced Hearing Care. “And as the years go on, these memories become more and more priceless.” To make sure you never miss a moment, conversation, or memory, Dr. Moore has offered up three common situations and accompanying tips to protect your hearing and your memories.
Rideon: “While convertibles are cool, having to say ‘what’ all the time isn’t. When riding in motorcycles and convertibles, the higher the speed, the higher your risk for damaging your hearing,” says Dr. Moore. Research shows that going 55 mph or higher produces damaging decibels. This is due to exposure to other loud automobiles (like semis or motorcycles) and wind.
Solution: Keep foam earplugs in your vehicle, or call us about custom earplugs if you’re a motorcycle enthusiast.
You have the power: A power mower from three feet away emits sounds of 107 dB, and a power saw from three feet away is 110 dB. “‘It can’t be that loud’ is something I hear quite often from those who work with power tools on the job or when doing home projects, but it can be and it is,” Dr. Moore said.
Solution: Wear earplugs or earmuffs when operating power tools. Foam and silicone construction are best for earplugs because they reduce additional decibels. Earmuffs are more heavy duty and can take more wear and tear.
Like music to your ears: “People typically don’t wear earplugs at concerts because they want the full effect of the experience — but over time, that experience will be quieted because of noise-induced hearing loss,” said Dr. Moore. Concerts average anywhere from 100 to 120 decibels.
Solution: Musicians’ earplugs turn the overall decibels down, so you still hear the music evenly. They can be custom fit to your ears to ensure protection and sound quality.
For more information on improving your hearing for the summer, contact Dr. Stephanie Moore. 918-333-9992
About Advanced Hearing Care is a full-service audiology practice proud to be bringing better hearing to the people of Bartlesville for 9 years. Our AudigyCertified™ hearing care practice has helped thousands of patients with their hearing, tinnitus, and balance disorders — and offers state-of-the-art diagnostic testing and expert fitting of hearing technology.
From the American Tinnitus Association — Hold that thought before you buy that noisy toy for your kids or grandkids this year. The Sight and Hearing Association has released its list of the noisiest toys of 2012, and chances are that noise-maker you’re looking at could cause hearing loss. Of 20 toys tested this year, 12 sounded off above 100 decibels (dB), which can damage hearing in less than 15 minutes.
Walking through the toy aisle at various stores, SHA selects toys that appear to be too loud for consumers. Once brought back to their office, a hand-held sound level meter is used to measure the sound produced from the speaker and 10 inches from the speaker of the toy. This, year, Mattel’s Talking Figure Buzz Lightyear was the leader among a dozen toys that literally went from infinity and beyond when it came to producing sound, blasting out at 111 dB. According to the National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety, exposure to decibel levels at a close distance would cause hearing damage almost immediately. Exposure to noise levels above 85 dB for no more than eight hours is the federal threshold for hearing protection. SHA reminds consumers that hearing loss is cumulative and it typically does not happen from one event; it gradually happens over time and that is why it is important to protect hearing at a young age.
Toys are required to meet the acoustic standard set by the American Society of Testing and Materials, which states that the sound-pressure level produced by toys shall not exceed 85 dB at 50 cm from the surface of the toy. “The problem with this standard is 50 cm is longer than the average arm length of an adult. We test toys based on how a child would play with them, not how an adult would play with them. If you watch a child playing with a noise-producing toy, you will see them hold it close to their ears or within their arms length, which is closer to 10 inches (25 cm)”, explains Kathy Webb, executive director of SHA.
Parents can do a few things to make it a little quieter this holiday season. SHA recommends testing the toy before you buy it. Webb says, “push buttons and rattle toys as you walk through the toy aisle and if a toy is too loud for you, it will be too loud for your child. Look for toys that have volume controls and if you must buy a noisy toy, or your child receives a noisy toy from a well-meaning family member, place clear packing tape over the speaker, it will reduce the sound level enough to make the toy ear-safe.” The University of Minnesota/Department of Otolaryngology confirmed in a study that was released in August 2012, that covering noise- producing toys with tape or glue will significantly reduce the noise level of a toy, making it safer for children.
Founded in 1939, Minnesota-based Sight & Hearing Association is dedicated to enabling lifetime learning by identifying preventable loss of vision and hearing. If consumers have a noisy toy to report, they can contact SHA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or is showing signs of dementia, a thorough hearing check is in order.
Studies suggest that hearing impairment contributes to the progression of cognitive dysfunction in older adults. If not managed, as for example with hearing aids, hearing loss can interrupt the cognitive processing of spoken language and sound.
When an individual has both Alzheimer’s and hearing loss, many of the symptoms of hearing loss can interact with those common to Alzheimer’s, making the disease more difficult than it might be if the loved one has been treated for hearing loss.
When left unaddressed, hearing loss can compound the difficulties that people with Alzheimer’s and their families already face. But in many cases, the appropriate use of hearing aids can benefit people with hearing loss, including those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.
Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a wide range of physical and emotional conditions, including impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks, reduced alertness, increased risk to personal safety, irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, and diminished psychological and overall health.
A comprehensive hearing assessment should be part of any medical evaluation prior to the evaluation of dementia. By addressing the hearing loss, quality-of-life for those who have Alzheimer’s can be improved and they can live life as fully as possible.
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Today, an estimated 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and they are supported by nearly 15 million caregivers. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States. (Source: Alzheimer’s Association)
There are 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the signs, please see a doctor. Early diagnosis gives you a chance to seek treatment and plan for the future.
o Memory loss that disrupts daily life
o Challenges in planning or solving problems
o Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
o Confusion with time or place
o Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
o New problems with words in speaking or writing
o Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
o Decreased or poor judgment
o Withdrawal from work or social activities
o Changes in mood and personality
For more information about the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s disease, early detection and diagnosis, contact the Alzheimer’s Association toll-free Helpline at (800)272-3900 or visit www.alz.org/10signs.
By: Dr. Kevin M. Liebe, Au.D., CCC-A, FAAA
Doctor of Audiology
Columbia Basin Hearing & Balance Center
This Father’s Day, and throughout the week leading up to it—National Men’s Health Week— men are encouraged to be proactive with their health, including their hearing health.
When left untreated, hearing loss can disrupt family life, strain relationships and increase the likelihood of depression and other psychological problems. Yet, millions of men with hearing loss have never even had a hearing test, either due to denial or lack of awareness that the symptoms they are experiencing are the result of hearing impairment. It’s no wonder that a hearing examination was recently labeled as the “most neglected health test for men” by MSN Health.
Sixty percent of the 36 million people with hearing loss in the United States are male, with a majority not seeking treatment for their hearing problems.
Despite the strong associations with many chronic conditions and diseases, most primary care doctors (over 75% in surveys) do not typically ask their patients if they have hearing problems and often do not include a hearing exam as part of a routine physical.
Conditions that afflict millions of American men, such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and dementia/Alzheimer’s disease, are all associated with increased risk of hearing loss. Research also ties hearing loss to a three-fold risk of falling among working-aged people (40 to 69), depression/anxiety, cognitive decline, and reduced earnings.
In a 2010 study, researchers at the Better Hearing Institute found that people with untreated hearing loss may lose as much as $30,000 in income annually, depending on their degree of hearing loss. The use of hearing aids, however, was shown to dramatically reduce the risk of unemployment and income loss.
Because men are more likely to have noisy jobs and hobbies, preserving hearing is critical to preventing problems in the future. Consistent use of hearing protection when in the presence of loud noise is an important part of maintaining a health auditory system.
Despite reluctance to do so, it’s important that men pay attention to their health. Diagnosis and treatment of a hearing loss may not only result in better hearing, but has the potential to significantly improve the overall quality of a person’s life.
The first step in treatment of a hearing problem is a hearing evaluation by a licensed audiologist.
Have more questions about hearing loss? Check our Hearing FAQ page.
Eye-Opening Facts about Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the United States
Approximately one in 10 Americans, or 36 million people have some degree of hearing loss.
More than half of the people with hearing loss are younger than age 65. Many of these people are still in the workforce
Fewer than 15 percent of physicians today ask patients if they have any hearing problems.
People with untreated hearing loss are more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and less likely to participate in organized activities, compared to those who wear hearing aids.
The vast majority of people who treat their hearing loss with hearing aids report significant improvements in their quality of life at home, work and in social settings.
Facts on Men’s Health:
A higher percentage of men have no healthcare coverage compared to women.
Men are 24 percent less likely than women to have visited a doctor within the past year and are 22 percent more likely to have neglected their cholesterol tests.
Men make 1/2 as many physician visits for preventative care, compared to women.
Men are 28 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for congestive heart failure.
Men are 24 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for pneumonia that could have been prevented by getting an immunization.
Men are 32 percent more likely than women to be hospitalized for long-term complications of diabetes and are more than twice as likely than women to have a leg or foot amputated due to complications related to diabetes.
Source: Department of Health & Human Services; Men’s Health Network
About National Men’s Health Week National Men’s Health Week is celebrated each year the week leading up to and including Father’s Day, which is June 11-17 in 2012. During this week, individuals, families, communities, and others work to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys.
New customized sound therapy approach with novel treatment sounds
SAN JOSE, California, March 26, 2012. SoundCure Inc., a new tinnitus solution provider, today announced the launch of the Serenade Tinnitus Treatment System at the upcoming American Academy of Audiology Meeting in Boston, March 28 – April 1, 2012. This marks the formal commercial release of a novel advancement in sound therapy based on the development of S-Tones®, customized treatment sounds developed independently by leading hearing researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).
Tinnitus, or “ringing in the ears”, affects approximately 10% of U.S. adults and an estimated 260 million people globally. It can be extremely debilitating, leading to depression, irritability, and difficulty sleeping or concentrating. It is most often related to hearing loss, especially that caused by noise damage.
Serenade is a handheld device that is programmed in the audiologist’s office for each individual patient according to his specific condition. Through the device’s earphones, the patient listens to therapeutic sounds which are designed to address the underlying neurological cause of tinnitus. Four different treatment sounds are available, anchored by advanced, proprietary S-Tones. Long-term relief can be achieved when used in an on-going sound therapy program.
The American Tinnitus Association provided a grant to UCI to develop the technology. Sound therapy as a tinnitus treatment is well-established and effective. S-Tones are low frequency, amplitude modulated tones that are frequency pitch-matched to a patient’s unique tinnitus, representing a significant clinical breakthrough compared to previous approaches. According to Dr. Fan-Gang Zeng, one of the technology inventors, these modulated tones “keep the brain’s interest” thus “inhibiting and reducing the perceived tinnitus sound and bringing relief”. In addition, S-Tones are intended to be “listened to at a volume that is lower than the patient’s tinnitus, reducing the sound burden”, according to Dr. Zeng.
SoundCure CEO Bill Perry states, “This approach was developed by a team with a deep scientific understanding of the neurophysiology of tinnitus and how the brain processes sound. It is an important solution to provide relief to patients and represents a real advance in tinnitus care.”
About SoundCure, Inc.
Established in 2009 to commercialize the technology developed for years at the University of California, Irvine, SoundCure, Inc. is a privately held medical device company whose mission is to revolutionize the treatment of tinnitus and provide relief to the millions of people suffering its effects. SoundCure is an Allied Minds company.
Serenade Tinnitus Treatment System at Advanced Hearing Care!
Advanced Hearing Care is proud to be the first provider in Oklahoma to offer the Serenade Tinnitus Treatment System! This groundbreaking technology has recently received FDA approval for the treatment of ringing in the ears. Studies are beginning to show that Serenade can offer immediate relief from the annoyance of tinnitus symptoms. For more information on the Serenade system, contact our office to schedule a consultation appointment!
Washington, DC, May 3, 2012—The Better Hearing Institute is joining the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) in recognizing National Tinnitus Awareness Week (TAW), May 13 to 19, 2012, and is raising awareness of hearing aids as a potential therapy to help quiet chronic “ringing in the ears.” According to a BHI study published in Hearing Review, 43.5 percent of people with tinnitus were helped at least mildly with hearing aids. And 3 out of 10 were helped moderately-to-substantially. For those whose audiologists used best practices in fitting hearing aids, the figure jumped to 50 percent. There currently is no known cure for tinnitus.
Often referred to as “ringing in the ears,” tinnitus is the perception of a sound that has no external source. Tinnitus sufferers commonly describe the noise as a ringing, humming, buzzing, and/or cricket-like. Tinnitus can be constant or intermittent. And it can be heard in one ear, both ears, or in the head. For many who suffer from it, tinnitus can be a source of endless torment and a continual drain on quality-of-life.
Nearly thirty million Americans—almost twice as many as previously believed—suffer from persistent, chronic tinnitus, according to the BHI study. That’s about ten percent of the U.S. population. And for people ages 65 to 84, that number jumps to almost 27 percent. Tinnitus is now the number one service-connected disability of returning military personnel from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The good news is there are effective therapies available to help people cope,” said Sergei Kochkin, PhD, BHI’s Executive Director. “In particular, we found that a variety of sound therapies and/or hearing aids in conjunction with counseling can help. But we need to raise awareness that effective therapies are available, including the use of hearing aids.”
Exposure to extreme noise is the leading cause of tinnitus, and people with tinnitus almost always have accompanying hearing loss. In fact, the study found that respondents with more severe hearing loss were more likely to have tinnitus. Yet, more than a third (39%) of people with hearing loss do not seek help specifically because they have tinnitus.
“Persistent, chronic tinnitus is a highly intrusive, increasingly common condition that can interfere with a person’s cognition, ability to interact with family and friends, and basic life functions,” said Jennifer Born, Director of Public Affairs at the American Tinnitus Association (ATA). “Much progress is still needed in understanding tinnitus and finding a cure—which is why Tinnitus Awareness Week is such an important effort.”
As baby boomers age, people listen to portable music players at high volumes, and more soldiers return from combat, the incidence of both hearing loss and tinnitus is expected to grow.
People suffering with tinnitus can find the latest information on their condition and methods for coping with it in an authoritative eGuide, “Your Guide to Tinnitus.” This 14-page guide covers definitions, causes, the impact of tinnitus, treatments, practical tips for managing tinnitus, and good self-help references.
“We are very pleased to join ATA this year in promoting Tinnitus Awareness Week and hope that our efforts bring us closer to finding a cure,” Kochkin said.
More About Tinnitus
Four in ten people experience their tinnitus more than 80 percent of the time; slightly more than one in four describe their tinnitus as loud; and about one in five describe their tinnitus as disabling or nearly disabling, the BHI study found.
People with tinnitus report that it most often affects their ability to hear (39%), concentrate (26%), and sleep (20%). Yet for many, tinnitus is even more pervasive. Twelve percent of respondents—or 3.6 million people when extrapolated to the general population—say their tinnitus affects leisure activities, social life, personal relationships, and emotional or mental health. Seven percent of respondents—or an estimated 2.1 million people nationwide—indicate that tinnitus affects their ability to work.
How Hearing Aids Help In addition to improving hearing and communication, hearing aids amplify background sound, so the loudness or prominence of the tinnitus is reduced. Simply taking the focus off the tinnitus means relief for many people. Hearing aids also reduce the stress associated with intensive listening by improving communication, which in turn help relieve tinnitus symptoms.
About Tinnitus Awareness Week
Each year, a week is set aside during Better Hearing Month to focus specifically on increasing public awareness about tinnitus and most importantly the need for increased funding for tinnitus research. This year, ATA is “going for gold” in its efforts to raise awareness and encourage people across the United States and around the world to help educate people about “ringing in the ears.” The premiere TAW 2012 event is the Tour de Tinnitus, a new bike ride fundraiser for the organization that was started last year by long time ATA member Mark Church. His efforts last year spawned great interest and the ride has grown to incorporate five new teams that will participate in four separate rides to raise money to support tinnitus research.
ATA has developed a TAW 2012 section on their website at ATA.org/TAW2012. From requesting proclamations from locally and nationally elected officials, to contacting your local media outlets, sharing tinnitus-related crosswords and posters, ATA has all the information you’ll need to get started in raising some serious tinnitus-awareness!
About BHI Founded in 1973, BHI conducts research and engages in hearing health education with the goal of helping people with hearing loss benefit from proper treatment. For more information on hearing loss, visit www.betterhearing.org. To take the BHI Quick Hearing Check, visit www.hearingcheck.org. To participate in the discussion forum, visit www.betterhearing.org, click on “Discussion Forum,” and go to “Welcome!” to register.
Nov. 14, 2011. About one in five Americans ages 12 and older suffer from hearing loss that’s severe enough to make communication difficult, researchers from Johns Hopkins University found.
About 30 million Americans, or 13 percent of the population, have hearing loss in both ears, and 48 million, or 20 percent, in at least one ear, according to a study published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine. That exceeds previous estimates, which put the number of people with hearing loss at 21 million to 29 million, the researchers said.
The study also found that hearing loss doubled every decade of life. Deficient hearing has been linked to a greater risk of dementia, poor cognitive function and falling in the elderly, said lead study author Frank Lin, an assistant professor of otolaryngology and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. The impact of hearing loss on the aging isn’t “inconsequential” and should be treated, he said.
“If you have poor hearing, your brain almost has to work harder to decode and process sound,” said Lin in a Nov. 11 telephone interview. “If you brain is having to reallocate resources to hearing, it probably comes at the expense of cognition or thinking ability.”
Researchers in the study used data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Surveys from 2001 to 2008 for all participants ages 12 and older who had their hearing tested over that period. The survey is thought to be representative of the U.S. population.
Worse With Age
For those in their 40s, about 2.8 million suffer from hearing loss in both ears and 5.6 million have the condition in at least one ear. That number jumped to 8.8 million for people in their 70s who had hearing loss in both ears and 10.8 million for those who had hearing loss in at least one ear, the study showed.
Women and black people were less likely than other groups to suffer from hearing loss, the study found. Lin said estrogen may be protective of hearing and the same cells that make skin dark may also play a role in preventing hearing loss.
Today’s study “gives us the real scope of the problem for the first time and shows us how big of a problem hearing loss really is,” Lin said in a statement. By Nicole Ostrow
Last year was a big year for hearing studies, particularly as hearing health relates to mental health. We saw multiple studies that linked untreated mild hearing loss to disorders such as dementia and brain atrophy. A new study was just released that offered a bit of positive news: hearing aid use may actually increase self-esteem.
The study, conducted by Hear the World, showed that a majority of hearing aid users experience better overall mental fitness than people who allow their hearing loss to go untreated. Quality of life, intimacy, personal confidence, even insomnia tend to improve for people who wear hearing aids. And when you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. Our hearing is our most important social sense; it’s the principle component of how we communicate with one another. To quote Helen Keller, hearing loss “means the loss of the most vital stimulus — the sound of the voice that brings language, sets thoughts astir and keeps us in the intellectual company of man.”
One of the most important things that we do at Advanced Hearing is work with our patients to restore their quality of life where their hearing loss interferes. It isn’t a surprise for us to see the results of this study. We see the importance of better hearing everyday in our patients. It’s our biggest passion and our greatest privilege. To experience the difference better hearing can make, call us today.