New Standards to Protect Young Peoples’ Hearing

New Standards to Protect Young Peoples' Hearing

Our world is full of noise, now more than ever before, and it just keeps getting louder. Our city streets are crowded, and traffic and neighborhood noise can invade even our homes and workplaces. Schools and universities are full of chatting students, and hallways are dangerously loud. Technology has also brought noise closer than ever before, and teens and young people are rarely without their phones or personal listening devices, blasting music right into their ears, playing games, or chatting with friends, and are damaging their hearing each and every day.

Hearing Loss Affecting More Young People Than Ever Before

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1.1 billion young people between the ages of 12 and 35 are damaging their hearing, and aren’t aware of the risks to their hearing health. Up to half of all young people don’t realize that they have unsafe listening practices, or that blasting their music today could cost them their hearing tomorrow. Young people of today risk noise induced hearing loss, and whether at school, on the commute, at the gym, or at home, they have unsafe listening practices that are harming their ears.

New Standards to Protect Young Peoples’ Hearing

The world is starting to take notice of the dangers to hearing health, especially among young people. The WHO and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) have released new standards to protect young peoples’ hearing, and hope that these will be implemented all around the world. Using both education and technology, they hope that young people will start looking after their hearing health, protect their hearing, and develop safe listening habits. The guidelines are available online and the toolkit for safe listening devices and systems provides more information for parents and young people.

Education for Young People

The best way to implement change is through education. Many young people simply don’t understand the risks to their hearing health, and don’t know that what they do today will affect their hearing health for the rest of their lives. Have a conversation with the young people in your life, talk about noise induced hearing loss, and make sure they know that hearing loss will affect their future in profound ways. “Given that we have the technological know-how to prevent hearing loss, it should not be the case that so many young people continue to damage their hearing while listening to music,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director-general. “They must understand that once they lose their hearing, it won’t come back. This new WHO-ITU standard will do much to better safeguard these young consumers as they go about doing something they enjoy.”

Using Technology to Prevent Hearing Loss

The WHO hopes that these new standards to protect young peoples’ hearing will have an impact on the technology we use every day. Many young people risk their hearing health using personal listening devices, so the WHO wants to change the technology that we use every day. They’re encouraging manufacturers to provide more programs and features to monitor hearing health and listening practices. A “sound allowance” feature could track how many hours a day people listen, and at what volumes, and notify the user when they’ve reached the maximum safe limit for the day. This would encourage users to be more mindful of their ears, and change their listening habits. Another suggestion is that manufactures develop personalized listening profiles which would give recommendations for safe listening, notify users when they’re not listening safely, and suggest when it’s time to turn down the volume. Parental volume controls are already available on many devices, and this allows parents to monitor their child’s listening habits, and cap the maximum volume at safe volumes to protect their child’s hearing health.

Hearing Consultants

Do you have teens or young people in your life who may not be listening safely? Take the time to have a conversation with them about safe listening practices, and help them develop habits that will protect their hearing health. Then, call us today the Hearing Consultants, where we can provide a  comprehensive hearing test for each member of your family. We’ll help you educate your young people, and protect the hearing of everyone in your family.

Call us today to start your journey to safer listening and clear hearing.

Musicians’ Concerns with Hearing Loss

Musicians' Concerns with Hearing Loss

Are you a musician? Have you been struggling to hear the sounds you love, or having difficulty hearing all the subtleties in the music you listen to and play every day? Hearing loss among musicians is more common than you might think, since many artists and musicians have exposed their ears to dangerously loud noises for many years without realizing the risks to their hearing health.

The Magic of Music

Have you experienced the magic of music? It has the power to transport you to a favorite memory, like an amazing show you saw, your first kiss, or your first heartbreak. Music can connect you with your loved ones, change your mood, and remind you of important moments in your life. Music is also a great motivator, and we listen to an upbeat playlist at the gym, or to keep us company on the commute to work. It can even reduce stress, and a slow song can help you relax before bed. Plato famously said, “music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything,” and many of us can relate to that feeling.

Has your hearing loss come between you and the music you used to love? Hearing loss strips music of it’s full, rich sound, leaving it sounding empty or hollow, and lacking the vibrancy you enjoyed so much. While this is a heartbreaking experience for everyone, musicians with hearing loss lose their art and their livelihood as well.

Musicians’ Concerns with Hearing Loss

A recent article in the Journal of the American Academy of Audiology explained how hearing loss has a huge effect on music perception, and showed some of the concerns musicians have with hearing loss. The study examined ensemble instrumentalists who played a variety of instruments, from percussion to wind, brass, and string instruments. Musicians with hearing loss had a much harder time hearing in rehearsals, whether hearing the conductor speaking, talking with fellow musicians, or hearing their own and others’ instruments.

Not only did they have more difficulty hearing speech and communicating, they also reported far less enjoyment of the music and the performance, and complained that the music has lost it’s full, rich sound they used to enjoy so much.

Hearing Devices for Musicians

Hearing aids are designed to enhance hearing, help wearers follow speech, and reduce background noise to make it easier to focus on important sounds. Hearing aids help you communicate with your friends and loved ones, enjoy social events, and be productive at work. However, musicians with hearing loss aren’t just concerned with hearing well during family dinner. They want to hear all the subtle sounds in the environment, from the birds singing to the laugher of children, and all the soft sounds in music that give music it’s warmth, depth, and emotion.

Can hearing devices help musicians hear? Musicians with quality devices, made with musicians in mind, report that the hearing aids helped restore the overtones and undertones in the music, giving it a rich sound, and helping them enjoy the music once again. They’re able to hear the soft sounds in the music as well as the loud, and experience a balanced sound quality.

The ensemble musicians in the study also reported that wearing hearing devices not only helped them appreciate the music once again, but the hearing aids also helped them hear during rehearsals, hear instructions from the conductor, and perform better.

Hearing Consultants

If you’re a musician or a music lover, and haven’t been able to enjoy music because of your hearing loss, then visit us today at Hearing Consultants to ask about the devices that will help you hear better. From devices made for musicians, to programs and settings designed for every music lover, you’ll be able to enjoy music once again. Don’t let your hearing loss stop you from enjoying a concert by your favorite band, or give up on your career.

At Hearing Consultants, we have a number of devices with special programs that enhance music, increase the volume of soft sounds, help you hear the subtleties, provide clarity, and give music it’s full, rich sound so you’ll be able to hear music in the most natural way.

 

Hearing Impairment May Affect Visual Learning

Hearing Impairment May Affect Visual Learning

 

If you’re a parent, we know you want the best for your children. You work hard to provide them with everything they need, and give them all the love and attention they deserve. It can be heartbreaking to learn that your child has hearing loss, but don’t worry, we’re here to help. Not only will hearing loss affect your child’s ability to learn and grow, it could also affect visual learning, so it’s important to treat their hearing loss as soon as possible.

Studying Hearing Loss in Children

Many studies have looked at hearing loss in children, discovering how hearing loss affects children’s ability to grow and learn. Cognitive development in children with hearing loss is far slower than in children with clear hearing, and these differences start in early infancy. A new study by the Ohio State University College of Medicine looked at when these differences in cognitive abilities emerge.

To determine how children with hearing loss learn, and to find out how they fall so far behind their hearing peers, Clair Monroy and Derek Houston studied visual processing skills, and discovered that it takes hard of hearing babies far longer to become familiar with new objects, and learn about their surroundings. Not only is auditory processing affected, but a hearing impairment also affects the visual learning process!

Monroy and Houston tested 23 hearing infants and 23 deaf infants, and tested their visual processing skills. They showed the babies a colorful object on a screen, and when the baby encoded the object, they’d lose interest and look away. Infants who couldn’t hear looked at the object 30 seconds longer than hearing infants, or 40% slower than the hearing infants!

Learning at a Slower Pace

Children who struggle to hear often learn at a slower pace than their hearing peers. They are unable to focus on tasks, concentrate, or complete simple tasks. The fact that those with hearing loss are also slower at learning things visually comes as a surprise to many people. “This is somewhat counterintuitive because a lot of people assume that deaf children compensate for their lack of hearing by being better at processing visual things, but the findings of the study show the opposite.” Monroy explains.

For infants with hearing loss, learning about the world around them is a challenge. They’re not getting the input they need to make sense of the world, and may feel more lost and alone than their hearing peers. When they reach school age, they’ll have a hard time interacting with peers, paying attention to the teacher, and keeping up with the kids in the class.

Treating Hearing Loss

If your child has hearing loss, it’s of utmost importance that you treat their hearing loss as soon as possible. “Understanding the source of these differences can really help us tailor interventions specifically for these children,” Monroy said. “And the earlier that happens, the better.” You child needs clear hearing in order to learn about the world around them, engage with objects in their environment, and bond with family members. To give your child the life they deserve, invest in their hearing health.

Hearing loss is a growing issue among teens as well. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.1 billion young people are at risk for hearing loss. With advancements in technology and the ubiquitous use of electronic devices to stream audio, it is important to make sure that your teens are taking precautions. Preventative measures, such as adhering to the 60-60 rule (60% volume for no more than 60 minutes at a time), are important when it comes to protecting your little one’s hearing.

Hearing Consultants

When it comes to your hearing health, Hearing Consultants has you covered. Whether you need hearing devices or a loved one is struggling to hear, we’re here to help. Your journey to clear hearing for you and your entire family will start with a comprehensive hearing test, so we’ll get a clear picture of your hearing health and hearing needs. We’ll then recommend the perfect hearing devices that will match your lifestyle and hearing loss, and allow you to get back to hearing all the amazing sounds around you. Visit us at Hearing Consultants today.