Protection is Important!
To your ears, that is. Did you know that a sound as loud as a blow dryer or blender can cause hearing loss and damage to your ears? Fun (or not so fun) fact for your Thursday.
Tips for protecting your hearing:
- Wear hearing protection when around sounds louder than 85 dB for a long period of time.
- There are different types of hearing protection such as foam earplugs, earmuffs and custom hearing protection devices.
- 85dB is about the sound of your hair dryer, lawn mower, blender or vacuum cleaner!
- Contact your local audiologist for custom hearing protection devices.
- Turning down the volume when listening to the radio, the TV, MP3 player, or anything through earbuds and headphones. (Visit www.TurnItToTheLeft.com)
- Walking away from the noise.
- And, other than hearing protection, do not put anything in your ear!
Contact your local audiologist for additional expertise on protecting your hearing and preventing noise induced hearing loss!
*Data provided by the American Academy of Audiology
Sabrina Marciante, AuD
It’s true. We are going deaf.
Research from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine has determined that hearing loss is a growing problem in the US. They project that by 2060 2/3 of older people will have hearing loss.
The tragedy is that much of this can be avoided by protecting your ears from loud sounds. An ounce of prevention (ear plugs) is better than a pound of cure (hearing aids). The time to start protecting your hearing is now.
The jury is still out about the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems. Their manufacturers have proposed them as a “safe” alternative to tobacco smoke. But are they? A recent review of the scientific and medical literature on the subject (Palazzolo DL (2013) Electronic cigarettes and vaping: a new challenge in clinical medicine and public health. A literature review. Front. Public Health 1:56. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2013.00056) didn’t reveal much. There is no evidence yet of harm reduction. There definitely is no sign that they decrease cigarette smoking or increase quit rates.
We don’t even know what happens to the lungs when this vapor is inhaled. Do the flavorings cause harm, or not? What is the level of inhaled nicotine relative to cigarettes? Is second hand vapor better or worse than second hand smoke? All of these questions remain to be answered. And likely over time they will be.
I hope that vaping does turn out to be a safe alternative to tobacco smoking. But, in the long run, neither is your best bet. As hard as it may be to quit, your life and health improve in the absence of nicotine.
Mark T. Brown, MD, FACS
Image from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1869)
Q Tips are bad!
Somebody finally confirmed what ENT’s and audiologists have been telling you all along. Quit cleaning your ears. That wax is not “dirty” but is important to your ear canal skin. It helps the ear canal stay healthy, repels bacterial invaders, and filters our dust and dirt that might otherwise get stuck in there. I know, it feels REALLY good. But you are more likely to cause a problem than solve one with a Q-Tip (apologies to Johnson and Johnson).
Check out the USA Today article here. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2017/01/05/now-hear-stop-cleaning-your-ears/96193598/
Mark Brown, MD, FACS
In October 2015, PCAST (President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology) delivered a letter report to the President detailing hearing loss, implications should it go untreated, the current hearing aid “market,” and recommendations to increase accessibility of amplification. While I could talk for 18 years about the implications hearing loss has on a patient the longer it is not addressed (increased fall risk, increased risk for developing dementia, withdrawal from social interactions… I mean, the list goes on), that’s for another day. It is within the recommendations made in this letter that a serious problem arises: PCAST wants to treat hearing aids like a commodity, a cute pair of shoes you can purchase and wear without any further thought behind it.
(Obtained from: http://www.thebrainydeafsite.com/p3.html)
NEWSFLASH: HEARING AIDS ARE NOT GLASSES FOR YOUR EARS!
Hearing aids do not treat hearing loss in the linear way that eyeglasses address vision impairment. Rather than presenting hearing aids as something we can window shop for, we should be calling for them to be seen as a medical solution! Hearing aids ARE treatment options for those suffering from hearing loss-a medical condition that varies between individuals. They ARE NOT an over-the-counter remedy that works universally.
PCAST’s first recommendation within the aforementioned letter presents the idea that hearing aids for mild to moderate hearing loss should be approved by the FDA for sale over-the-counter WITHOUT a single evaluation performed by or consultation with an audiologist or hearing aid dispenser. Imagine self-deciding that you need to wear a full mask CPAP machine every night for the rest of your life without undergoing a sleep study or a consultation with a board certified sleep medicine doctor? You wouldn’t! Or I hope you wouldn’t…
Additionally, PCAST calls for audiologists and hearing aid dispensers to provide a simple programmable profile based on a diagnostic hearing evaluation for such OTC hearing aids. Here’s an example that highlights the most glaring issue here: 3 people may present with the exact same audiogram, but process sound inputs completely differently. Picture these 3 individuals with the same allergy to mold and oak (hello springtime in Central Texas!)-the treatment of each person will vary based on patient need. A single dose of Flonase in the morning may offer relief to one patient and have zero effect on another. Hearing aids are extraordinarily similar: one manufacturer with one prescribed programming strategy will not work for all patients.
Hearing aids are therapy tools-treatment devices that should be adjusted based on patient need. Success with amplification requires an honest relationship between patient and provider. An audiologist is not a shoe salesman! We don’t help you pick out the pair you like and send you on your way, never to be heard from again. It’s an ongoing relationship to ensure proper treatment of a patient’s hearing loss and improvement in quality of life. For that, don’t expect some OTC device to provide the same level of success. Don’t go see a dentist for Lasik eye surgery. Don’t trust your auto mechanic to manage your banking portfolio. See an audiologist to improve your hearing health. Demand better.
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