Thousands Of People Missing Out On Holidays Because Of Hearing Loss

Thousands Of People Missing Out On Holidays Because Of Hearing Loss

THOUSANDS of Scots are missing out on dream holidays because of their hearing loss.

Hearing-Loss-1-350x233Difficulties hearing among crowds or over background noise mean two-fifths of those who suffer from some form of hearing impairment are avoiding holidays to noisy or city destinations altogether.

Almost a quarter say their hearing problems have led to them being far less adventurous when it comes to travelling.

A third even went as far as to say their hearing problems made them feel anxious when they went on holiday or travelled somewhere new.

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The research, by hearing specialist Amplifon, involving more than 2,000 people who suffer hearing problems. It found that New York, Madrid and Tokyo were perceived as among the noisiest travel destinations in the world.

Barry Downes, Amplifon’s professional services manager, said: “The world becomes a smaller place for people with hearing loss if they don’t take steps to deal with their problems.

“Many admit they become less adventurous when choosing a holiday, not just in terms of the destinations they pick but also the types of activities they take part in.



“One of the most uplifting things about going on holiday, especially if it involves travelling abroad, is being able to immerse yourself in a new culture, which involves taking in the sounds as well as the sights.

“Being able to hear properly is therefore integral to the quality of the experience.

“A third of those surveyed also said their hearing loss made them more anxious about travelling, which is understandable given that they may have problems picking up important information such as flight announcements or details of planned excursions.”

William Allan, 57, from Irvine, Ayrshire, is one of many who found his hearing problems were holding him back as he and his wife Valerie tried to tick off their holiday bucket list.

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Top of their list of destinations was China, but what should have been the trip of a lifetime turned into a nightmare because poor hearing stopped William from fully appreciating all the country had to offer.

He said: “We’d been looking forward to travelling for so long but when we eventually got to China I spent the whole time shackled to the tour guide because if she moved too far away I couldn’t hear what she was saying.

“The whole trip was a nightmare to be perfectly honest because the fact I couldn’t hear properly had a real impact on the quality of the experience.

“You need information to make proper sense of the sites you are visiting, whether it’s the Terracotta Warriors or The Great Wall of China, otherwise you’ll never appreciate their full historical value, so from that point of view, China was pretty frustrating for me and I came away thinking ‘why did I bother?’”

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His nightmare trip to China was a turning point, after which he decided to be fitted with a hearing aid.

Allan said: “One good thing came out of that trip to China – it forced me to make the conscious decision that if I ever went on a long-haul holiday again, I must be able to hear properly. I waited four or five years before seeking professional help and I regret that, because it’s time I can’t get back.

“After getting a hearing aid fitted, we went to Vietnam and Cambodia last year and the whole experience compared to China, from a hearing perspective, was like night versus day.

“Apart from hearing everything the tour guide said, I also felt more confident in my ability to hear conversations properly so, from a social point of view, the whole experience was far more enjoyable.”

The National Scot

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More Teens Suffer Permanent Hearing Loss

More Teenagers Than Ever Are Suffering Permanent Hearing Damage And Hearing Loss

noisy-damaging-environments1The noisy world today is easily tuned out as the headphone generation plugs in, often times morning to night.

“I listen to music every day, anything I’m doing,” said Daniela Garcia, an Edina High School senior.

Osseo High School senior Emma Vervair agrees, estimating during the school year she wears headphones up to six or seven hours a day and even falls asleep listening to audiobooks.

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ear-defense-packaging-50-percentKnowing the modern headphone habits of teenagers, Starkey Hearing Technologies launched a new campaign aimed towards young people called “Listen Carefully” to quiet what it calls a new epidemic.

“We are seeing in the MP3 world today is almost 20 percent of kids and teenagers have measurable hearing loss today, for preventable reasons,” said Dr. Dave Fabry, PhD, Starkey Vice President of Audiology.

Dr. Fabry admits you wouldn’t think the country’s largest manufacturer of hearing aids would focus on prevention, but he calls hearing loss a cradle to grave affliction affecting 10 percent of the world’s population.

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Starkey research finds teen hearing loss has increased 30 percent in the past decade, an irreversible but preventable affliction.

tinnitus-1“The challenge is the ear really doesn’t care whether it’s noise or music. All the ear cares about is the intensity of the exposure, intensity of the sound, and the duration of the exposure,” said Dr. Fabry.

He tests the headphone levels Garcia and Vervair frequently listen to with equipment that measures the intensity of sound in ear canal, in decibels.

Dr. Fabry hopes to find a safe level, 90 decibels, which can be listened to eight hours a day without permanent damage to hearing.

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Garcia listened to a Justin Timberlake song peaking at 95 decibels, which was louder than recommended.

Dr. Fabry says sound at 93 decibels can only be listened to for four hours, 96 decibels can be listened to for two hours, and 99 decibels for one hour. For comparison, 100 decibels is similar to listening to a lawnmower, which is only considered safe for one hour before possible hearing damage.

“My general rule of thumb was if you stood at arm’s length away and your child was listening on MP3 player and you could identify the song they were listening to, it was probably too loud,” said Dr. Fabry.

Dr. Fabry says safe listening levels can depend on the type of music or style of headphones when you consider the rising popularity of custom earbuds, or the Beats brand headphones.

“They isolate the sound really well, so you can crank the volume up on these a long ways and no one would know what you are listening to. My old rule of thumb went out the window,” said Dr. Fabry.

So, as Garcia swaps Apple headphones for Beats, her volume level rises to 96 or 97 decibels, which Dr. Fabry says brings twice the risk.

“You are safe for two hours before potentially causing permanent damage,” he says.

“I’ve never looked at it at that standpoint, so I’m glad I’m more aware now,” said Garcia.

Prevention can be as easy as buying acoustic limiting headphones; many come in styles for kids or by changing volume settings on your phone. On an iPhone, you can go to settings, scroll to music and then volume limit, where you can set a volume output.

Dr. Fabry says lock in an acceptable level, with the headphones you most often use, which is key.

Emma Vervair tests out her beloved Bluetooth headphones while listening to one of her favorite bands, 21 Pilots.

“You see, it’s just cresting at 90 decibels so you are right on the fringe and could listen to this level eight hours a day,” Dr. Fabry told her.

Just in case, she also limits the volume on her Android phone. For both teens a simple reminder speaks volumes, and awareness alone brings resounding change.

“It was never even in the back of my mind. And now that I listen to music all the time, it will be in the back of my mind. I think maybe I should turn it down a notch,” said Garcia.

Lindsey Seavert

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Noise Hazard Alert

Noise Hazard Alert



Noise Hazard Alert Information

Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States. Each year approximately 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to noise loud enough to damage their hearing.

Through the appropriate use of personal protective equipment such as hearing protection, separating workers from noisy equipment or processes as much as possible and by implementing “buy quiet” programs, employers can reduce the risk of hearing loss for workers.

As part of the effort to raise awareness of noise hazards and steps contractors can take to protect their employees from job-related noise induced hearing loss, the OSHA-NIOSH-CPWR r2p Working Group developed a new series of infographics. These infographics aim to raise awareness of the risk, offer steps to prevent hearing loss and raise awareness about NIOSH’s Buy Quiet resources. Built off of the NIOSH Buy Quiet video and data in the Center for Construction Research and Training’s (CPWR) Construction Chart Book, the infographics reinforce the message that hearing loss can be prevented.

CPWR offers for public download both a noise hazard alert and a toolbox talk on noise hazards, (and you can order the hazard alert in printed brochure format at no charge).

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Plane Noise Can Affect Your Health

Plane Noise Can Affect Your Health

Did you know that plane noise can affect your hearing?

airplane-noise-3Airplane noise is not just annoying, it is hazardous to our health, President of Quiet Skies Len Schaier told Community Board 8 last Wednesday. Schaier, whose organization advocates at the federal level to reduce airplane noise, said that their number one agenda was to lower the noise threshold that is currently accepted by the Federal Aviation Administration.

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The FAA is required to act to mitigate noise for properties where the airplane noise level goes above the threshold. Advocates seek to lower the threshold for allowable noise from 65 Day/Night Level to 55 DNL. DNL is a metric based on the average airplane noise decibel level across an entire day and night, with an added penalty for noise during late night and early morning hours. The 65 DNL level was determined based on research from the early 1970s that found most people were not annoyed by sound at that level, which is quieter than a conversation at home, but louder than a conversation in a noisy restaurant.

plane-noise-2Schaier said that research has found 55 or 53 decibels is a noise level that is both less annoying and less hazardous to our health. Because the decibel system is not linear, 65 decibels is not just 18 percent louder than 55 decibels. It is in fact about twice as loud. Many, including State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) argue that the 65 DNL threshold, is based on outdated research.

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“It is easy to dismiss airplane noise a non-issue if you are not one of the thousands of families being affected day in and day out,” Stavisky said in a statement. “But we now know the current threshold of 56 DNL is obsolete.” She sent a letter to U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand asking them to support a change to the 55 DNL level.

plane-noise-1Many countries and organizations, including the Environmental Protection Agency, and the World Health Organization, use 55 as their threshold, based on health research.

“The rest of the world thinks about health and wellness. We are still thinking about the annoyance,” Schaier said.

“The same planes land in Europe, how can we justify a different standard?”

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Health risks to airplane noise or proximity to airport include cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and sleep loss and its attendant risks of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease as well as accidents.

A study from the Harvard School of Public Health found that for every 10 decibels of airplane noise, risk of cardiovascular hospitalization rose 3.5 percent. It also found that while there was a correlation between ZIP codes with high airplane noise and heart-related hospitalizations, that correlation ceased to exist with noise levels below 55 DNL.

In the LaGuardia area, 5,209 individuals are estimated to live in households where the DNL is greater than 65. That number is 32,085 around JFK Airport.
Across the country, 29 congressional representatives signed a letter to the FAA to change the DNL threshold from 65 to 55.

But Schaier said he wanted New York’s elected officials to do more. “Schumer and Gillibrand have just been out of the picture,” he said.


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Hearing Health Report US

Hearing Health Report US

Is Your Hearing Health Good?

hearing-health1Did you know that your job could cause you hearing loss? A recent US government study found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, workers exposed to loud noises are at risk of losing their hearing. The agency defined moderate hearing loss as “difficulty hearing another person talking, even in a quiet place or on the phone.”

The research was led by Elizabeth Masterson of the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Her team stressed that most workplace ear damage is unnecessary.

The study concluded that 2 percent of the more than 1.4 million workers tested across nine industry sectors between 2003 and 2012 had “moderate or worse” hearing loss, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

Also, some other significant findings from the study include:man-with-jack-hammer

  • The mining sector had the highest rates of hearing impaired workers at 17%
  • followed by the construction sector at 16% loss
  • then manufacturing industries at 14% loss

Public employees… police, fire, and emergency services had the lowest prevalence of hearing loss and impairment among Americans working in noisy professions.

One expert wasn’t surprised by the findings.

“Hearing loss is the third most common chronic physical condition in the United States, and is more prevalent than diabetes or cancer,” said Katrien Vermeire, director of hearing and speech at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y. “Thousands of workers every year suffer from preventable hearing loss due to high workplace noise levels.”

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“Occupational hearing loss is a permanent but entirely preventable condition with today’s hearing loss prevention strategies and technology,” the researchers wrote.

occupational-hearing-loss2Vermeire agreed. “Noise-induced hearing loss is almost entirely preventable,” she said. “Make sure to wear hearing protection devices — such as earplugs or earmuffs — when you are involved in loud activities, either at work or when involved in noisy recreational activities.”

Vermeire also stressed, “If you’re exposed to hazardous noise on the job, annual hearing tests are important to identify any change in hearing that might indicate under-protection from the noise.”

So, the conclusion is that if you are in a loud environment for any period of time then it is best to use earplugs.

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