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How Loud is Too Loud?

Sunday, August 18, 2019 11:05:11 PM Asia/Calcutta

You may be a great music lover and love to keep your favourite playlist running on for hours with your headphones put one. You love to dance to its rhythm and be absolutely lost in your own world. But do you know that even that lovely tune is harmful to your ears?

Each day we are exposed to harmfully loud sounds - be it traffic, loudspeakers on the streets, construction equipment, televisions, and the like - which means a constant attack to our ears and hence our precious hearing! Most of the times you get tempted by those loud songs and end up being exposed to high decibels of noises, such as going to a rock concert, burning firecrackers in celebration or during Diwali - our favourite festival of lights, blowing the horn in impatience while travelling to office, or as simple as turning the TV or radio volume or playing some music player at the comfort of your room. All these little activities might greatly increase the risks of hearing loss and it’s high time that you must be cautious.

Yes, there are advanced methods of hearing loss treatment today - be it high quality digital hearing aids packed with a host of smart and intelligent features or cochlear implants, which are designed to provide you the best listening experience, but the harsh reality is no treatment of hearing loss can ever bring back your natural hearing, once it’s gone! And in most cases, noise-induced hearing loss or NIHL is permanent in nature and the damage remains forever. A good hearing aid machine can only amplify the sound for you and do nothing more!

 

How Will You Know If You Are at Risk of Hearing Loss?

Did anyone ever tell you to turn down the volume of your music in your headphones, or your television or radio? If yes, then do listen to them; they might be right! It is simply because the music which you feel is okay or you are comfortable in, might be too loud for others. Now before you turn up the volume again, learn how loud is really very loud for your ears? And what is the safe listening duration for each decibel of sound? Here’s a table describing each sound decibel along with their sources.

 

Noise Source

    dB   

  Safe Exposure Time

  Effect on Humans

Whisper

30

Infinite

None

Rain

50

Infinite

None

Dishwasher

60

Infinite

None

Food Mixer

70

Infinite

None

Washing Machine

80

Infinite

None

Traffic

85

8 hours

Risk

Lawnmower

90

2 hours

Risk

Power Tools

100

15 minutes

Injurious

Chainsaw

110

2 minutes

Injurious

Jackhammer

120

15 seconds

Injurious

Ambulance Siren

130

0 seconds

Dangerous

Firecrackers

140

0 seconds

Dangerous

Gunshot

165

0 seconds

Dangerous

 

When to Seek Help?

While some noises can be avoided easily, others are not in your hand. In such a case where you can’t help it but be exposed to these loud noises, do consider self-protecting your ears with the help of earplugs or earmuffs. Do consider carrying them wherever you go, because in certain situations you are really going to need them.

However, if you do find certain hearing problems, do get a hearing test done immediately. Learn about the signs and symptoms of hearing loss in our previous blog: ‘Hearing Loss: Early Signs and Treatment’.

Depending on how loud the sound is and how long the duration of exposure is, you can be at risk of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). While some noises can cause mild to moderate hearing loss, other extremely loud ones can cause severe to profound loss - thereby, damaging your hearing permanently.

But there is nothing to panic in such a case. There are so many advanced hearing loss treatment technologies like digital hearing aids or cochlear implants, which are both highly effective and risk-free.

Learn about some cool must-have features in the modern-day digital hearing aids, if you are planning to buy one: ‘7 Must-have Features in Your Digital Hearing Aids’.

Consult a certified Audiologist before making a decision, and get your hearing checked from a recognised hearing aid clinic from time to time. Based on your test results your Audiologist will decide the best solution for you in case you are diagnosed with a hearing loss.

Protect Your Unborn Baby Against Hearing Loss

Friday, August 16, 2019 5:09:15 PM Asia/Calcutta

Yes, your baby might have a risk of developing hearing loss even before birth! While some causes aren’t quite preventable, some others can really be prevented and are completely in your hands. Many a time the cause of hearing loss in the baby in your womb is due to a lack of carefulness and caution. You as a mother must make it a point to take care of your baby in every possible way. Always remember, a healthy you mean a healthy baby!

However, simply talking about the mother’s health would be wrong. The health of the father matters equally and therefore, both the parents must follow healthy habits to avoid any complications of the baby - including hearing. Because leading a healthy lifestyle is key to protect your child’s hearing health, which is much better than hearing loss treatment. Always keep this in mind that if a baby is born with permanent hearing impairment, no treatment of hearing loss can ever replace it with the natural hearing of an individual.

Let Not Your Unborn Baby Suffer

Factors Affecting Hearing Health in the Fetus

Certain health conditions of the mother do affect the hearing health of the child during pregnancy. For instance, suppose if a mother has some infections, then certain viruses or infections can get transferred down to the fetus. However, apart from health conditions, there are certain unhealthy habits that might damage the hearing of your baby, such as smoking, alcohol intake, not maintaining a proper and balanced diet, and other such detrimental lifestyle habits. Let’s have a look at how these habits or health conditions hamper the hearing development of the fetus.

 

Unhealthy Habits

  • Smoking and Intake of alcoholic beverages - Toxins from cigarettes and alcoholic drinks are very harmful to hearing as well as the overall health of the child. These substances reduce the cell formation of the fetus which affects the hearing organs, which remain underdeveloped for life. The child in such a case is born with fewer auditory sensory cells than its peers with normal hearing development, thus increasing the risks of hearing loss caused due to noise exposure or aging.

  • Not following a balanced and healthy diet - Malnutrition leads to the underdevelopment of the fetus - including hearing. If a woman doesn’t maintain a good and healthy diet as advised by the doctor, the hearing organs and cells won’t develop properly, thereby increasing the risks of hearing loss both during the fetus stage and after birth.

  • Exposure to loud noises - Even in the mother’s uterus, the baby is highly vulnerable to noise. The hearing mechanism of the fetus is fully developed after 20 weeks of conception and is quite unprotected. If a woman is exposed to high decibels of noise for most of the day or for a significant amount of time, it is highly possible that her baby will be born with noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Studies show that exposure to loud noises during pregnancy can lead to premature delivery. Also, increased noise levels can cause stress which can cause changes in a pregnant woman's body. This can affect her developing baby in her womb. It is because sound can travel through your body and reach your unborn baby. Although this sound will be muffled in the womb, very loud noises might still be able to damage your baby's hearing even in the pre-natal stage.

 

Health Conditions

  • Rubella (German Measles) - It is an infection that affects the skin and lymph nodes and is caused by a virus. If a pregnant woman is affected by the infection, then it can have serious effects on the child, thus affecting the hearing health of the baby.

  • Measles - This can spread easily, causing rash, fever, cough and hearing loss.

  • Herpes - Studies show that four out of five children born of mothers infected with the herpes virus during early pregnancy might develop hearing loss.

  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) - This is a common virus that can pass over to the fetus from an infected pregnant woman. This is known as congenital CMV which is a leading cause of non-genetic hearing loss, thus affecting speech and language developmental skills.

  • Toxoplasmosis - This infection, often caused by undercooked meat or touching cat poop, causes problems like headaches, body aches, fever, fatigue and hearing loss.

Sadly, some congenital hearing loss (which is present at birth) cannot be prevented. However, following a proper and well-planned hearing loss treatment schedule can help you manage your child’s hearing loss better - especially in the generation of a technological boom. Today’s advanced hearing loss treatment methods like the updated digital hearing aid machine and cochlear implants can help your child develop speech and language skills on time at par with the developmental milestones.

To learn more about factors causing hearing loss during pregnancy, visit this link: https://www.hear-it.org/Protect-your-unborn-baby-against-hearing-loss

 

How to Prevent Your Baby from Developing Hearing Loss?

Now that you are aware of the possible factors affecting the hearing health of your baby in your womb, let’s talk about some preventive measures that can help you protect your child’s hearing health.

  • Quit smoking immediately. Not only you as a pregnant woman should quit smoking (if you have the habit), but you must also ask your family members in your home or other people you are living with to do so - because second-hand smoking is much more dangerous. Motivate them to quit smoking and make them realise that it is harmful to your baby. Every individual must keep this in mind and be responsible.

  • No alcohol intake. Similar is the case with alcoholic drinks. Quit them during pregnancy. It is harmful to both your baby and yourself.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

  • Maintain a proper and balanced diet. Talk to your paediatrician or a mother and child healthcare specialist about the good foods and the bad ones. Also discuss your health conditions (if any), so that he or she might set a proper diet chart for you.

  • Avoid being exposed to loud noises. If you have the habit of listening to loud music for hours together, then it’s high time that you must drop it at once! Yes, of course, you will listen to music - it is good for your health as it brings mental peace and calm. But if you do so for hours without a break or without controlling the volume, even that soothing music might turn dangerous for your baby! Make it a habit to reduce the timing and volume of the music.

  • Treat any health condition or infectious diseases at once. Being an expecting mother, never delay or ignore any health issue. Get proper treatment right away. Certain diseases or infections can be carried down to the fetus and might affect its hearing.

  • Avoid taking ototoxic medications.  Certain medications are toxic for the fetus. Consult your doctor and child specialist before taking any medicine.

Prevention is better than any hearing loss treatment. A little care makes a huge difference!

Are you aware of any other causes or preventive measures to protect your baby’s hearing during pregnancy? Tell us in the comment box below.

Also, tell us if you like informative blogs like these. You are also free to recommend if you have a topic in mind and you want us to cover any subject.

Risk of Hearing Loss in Teachers

Monday, October 8, 2018 1:33:07 PM Asia/Calcutta

With loud bells ringing, children shouting and screaming, announcements over loudspeakers or microphones, slamming of doors or lockers - you are exposed to such high decibels of sounds all the time. In other words you are at a very high risk of acquiring occupational noise induced hearing loss (NIHL)! According to a study, classrooms were recorded to be having noise levels of about 87 dB - exposing to which increases the risks of hearing impairment. But sadly, teachers and educators often overlook this problem and hence, refuse opting for a hearing loss treatment.

Hearing loss in teachers occurs at a very young age than other occupational noise induced hearing loss. The continuous exposure to screams from hallways, sports rooms, canteens or lunchrooms, musical instruments from music rooms, etc. - all contribute to hearing loss. Hearing loss in teachers and lecturers often make them unable to concentrate during lectures. This results in a reduction of productivity at teaching or lecturing. Certain hearing loss treatment methods like hearing aids might be effective in managing this problem.

Although teachers are more prone to hearing loss at primary or even secondary schools, yet at higher education institutions, lecturers and professors have to be attentive and be able to listen and understand properly all the time - in order to keep up with the classroom activities.

According to a research study done by the Danish Centre of Educational Environment, teachers who are younger than 40 years report a much higher rate (near about 26%) of hearing problems than that of other professionals (which is about 17%). Other studies have proved that teachers are much at higher risks of having hearing loss due to their exposure to unsafe volumes of sounds - such as at choir or music rooms and gymnasiums (as high as 90 dB). Music teachers and coaches or trainers of various games and sports are especially vulnerable to such high sound levels - thus leading to their early hearing loss problems - and compelling them to seek some hearing loss treatment at an early age!

A common problem among teachers due to their overexposure to risky sound levels is tinnitus - or ringing in the ears. This can cause difficulties in concentrating on the classroom activities and even understanding what the children are saying. Thus teachers and lecturers find themselves often telling others to repeat what they have said! As a result, they might feel stressed faster due to their being attentive and trying to listen all the time. This often makes teachers being misunderstood and often ignored!

It would therefore, be a big mistake on your part to leave your hearing problems untreated, as the problems would go adverse and would bring in more medical complications - such as Dementia associated with forgetfulness, anxiety, depression and the like, as well as social and communication barriers like social isolation, speech difficulties, difficulty in understanding what others are trying to convey, and the like.

Consult a certified Audiologist today at your nearest hearing loss treatment clinic and resume your class activities which you have been missing all these time!

Hearing Loss and Our MP3 Generation

Saturday, August 25, 2018 3:43:06 PM Asia/Calcutta

We know that you just love that moment when you can sit down and relax, with your headphones on, and a loud music put on! Or even that moment when you can throw some random dance steps on the floor, while putting on a banging rock song in the background! We know that without mp3 songs, you cannot imagine your life! But do you know that with each day of listening to loud music, you are losing your good hearing health - with the deterioration of your good hearing ability?!

Hearing Loss and Our MP3 Generation

How is Listening to Music Affecting Hearing Health?

Listening to loud music has always been a favourite pastime for teens, and sadly, this is the beginning of every hearing problems as seen in teenagers and youngsters! Do you know that according to statistics, the exposure to loud noise for prolonged periods of time is the greatest cause of hearing loss among teenagers and young children - and it is ever on the rise?! And the worst part is that this is completely preventable! But technology has been so evolved and the audio players have been improved listening experience so much, that it has become almost indispensable for children and teenagers to keep them aside! These days, kids and teens are losing their hearing at an alarmingly faster pace, and the impacts are really life-changing!

Live concerts as well as personal audio devices are extremely hazardous for your ears, because their volume often exceeds the 85-decibel (dB) level limit which is considered as safe for listening up to 8 hours at a stretch, reaching, in many cases, over 100 dB (which is considered safe only for 15 minutes). Repeated exposure to that hazardous level will gradually damage the tiny hair cells in your inner ear, which are the vital elements for one’s hearing - and this eventually leads to permanent hearing loss.

However, recent research studies indicate that young people disregard all these warnings and willingly endanger their hearing!

 

Incidence and Prevalence of Hearing Loss in Teens

According to the Journal of Pediatrics, about 12.5% of kids of the age group of 6 - 19 have hearing loss - with listening to loud music being the cause, particularly through earbuds at excessively loud and unsafe volumes! More recent studies, however, estimate that about 16% of teenagers, or approximately 6 million children, suffer from permanent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). This means that hearing loss in such a case is irreversible, and one cannot regain his/her natural hearing health!

 

What is the Solution?

Here are certain tips that might protect your hearing and might help you to prevent hearing loss -

  • Teach your child to respect their hearing - and keep them away from gadgets and audio systems as much as possible. Spend enough time with them - because spending time with family is priceless! Make them realise the value of family and the joy of it!

  • Keep the volume low! Avoid listening to music, especially while using headphones, at a noisy environment - because that would make you make the volume higher to combat the external noises! This is very harmful for your ears! Also make a safe headphone choice and use a good quality one, which will cancel out background noises, and make the music soothing - thus promoting a wonderful listening experience.

  • Set time limits! Make sure that you are not listening to high decibels for overly long hours. Also take occasional listening breaks in between! This will keep noise-induced hearing loss problems at bay!

  • Follow the 80-90 rule. That is, practice keeping your device volume below 80% and limit your listening time to 90 minutes or less.

  • Use the Arm’s Length Rule to test your child’s hearing health. If your child is unable to listen to what you are saying, then he or she is probably listening to music at very high volumes. Check this now!

  • Make your child wear earplugs or earmuffs to protect his or her hearing at a noisy area - this will at least prevent hearing loss!

 

So what are you waiting for? Never let technology ruin your health, and engulf your life and the better half of you!

Comments | Posted in Hearing Loss Problem By Phalguni Bannerjee

Effective Hearing Loss Treatment to Heal Hearing Damage

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 8:33:10 PM Asia/Calcutta

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association has stated that hearing loss is the third most common issue affecting the adults nowadays. Unfortunately, most of the sufferers refuse to treat it because they feel going to an audiologist is embarrassing.

Medical community has come up with several effective solutions. Some of the hearing loss treatment are described in detail in this blog. Are you ready to learn more?

Sensorineural Hear LossTreatment

Permanent hearing damage is mostly caused by sensorineural hearing loss. If you’re one of them, then the time has come when you should seek for a hearing aid.

When the inner cells of your ear get damaged, it results into sensorineural hearing issue. In case, the condition is not improved with the help of a hearing aid, you may need a cochlear implant.

Conductive Hear Loss Treatment

Building up of earwax overtime leads to conductive hear loss. This type of hearing damage is curable and is temporary. A perforated eardrum also sometimes leads to issues in hearing. Experts can help you immensely by finding out the cause and thus will suggest remedy accordingly.

People suffering from this problem can be treated with a medicine or surgery. However, your specialist is the only person to decide which type of treatment should be carried out.

If the condition has not taken a serious turn, antibiotics are prescribed to deal with ear infections. Many ear drops are also available to dissolve the earwax fully.

Role of Hearing Devices

Hearing aids assist the wearer to hear the sounds surrounding him or her. The sounds when they get in the device are then processed. Once the sound is amplified, it starts to release signals into the ear. Consequently, you will get a completely customized hearing experience.

A great majority of centres of hearing loss treatment in Kolkata offer both types of hearing aids namely, analog and digital.

Analogue Hearing Aids

Presently, analogue hearing aids are not much in use. It works by changing the intake sounds into electrical signals. These signals are then amplified by the device so as to feed them properly back into the wearer’s ear.

Many analogue hearing devices are designed in a way that they can distinguish a deafening noise from a tolerable one. Due to this advancement, it has gained the ability to decide which sound needs amplification.

Digital Hearing Aids

Digital hearing aids are manufactured to ensure quality hearing. Its automatic programmers eliminate the need to push a button to adjust the programs. These devices are more effective because it can completely eliminate the feedback of the environment.

Concluding Lines

Don’t expect that your auditory device will restore your hearing ability. Instead, it will improve your communication ability gradually by amplifying the sounds it has absorbed.

The medical advancements taking place almost every day has opened new ways of treating the hear loss if diagnosed early. It’s better not to delay visiting a hearing aid clinic in your locality in case you have issues with hearing.

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