Widespread Addiction to Portable Music Players Increasing Potential for Premature in Youth, Adults Alike – Pt. 2

by Jessica Perreault, CHHA National Office

With increased usage of portable music devices, both adults and youth alike are becoming more susceptible to potential premature hearing loss. The following outlines possible risks and preventative measures that can be taken to help prevent permanent hearing loss.

While it is not a widespread epidemic, tinnitus is one of the possible side effects of exposure to the loud music heard from portable listening devices. Tinnitus is a ringing or buzzing heard in the ears or head on a regular basis, and is often the result of exposure to loud noises. At the same time, it is even possible to experience partial or full hearing loss, as a result of this exposure. This is not to say that people need to quit listening to the music they enjoy. There are a few simple steps that can significantly reduce the risk in listening to a portable music player.

1. Turn it down. Most people attempt to block out the surrounding noise by turning up the volume. A general rule of thumb is when you can’t hear that noise anymore, it’s too loud.

2. Reevaluate your headphones. Ear bud headphones are more damaging to your ears than an over-the-ear style headphone. The proximity of the noise to the inner ear canal with ear buds creates a higher intensity. Ear buds often require louder volumes to block out that ambient noise as well. Over-the-ear style headphones come in a variety of styles, and are also available in what is called isolation, or noise cancellation headphones. These headphones are designed to filter background noise, allowing the listener to enjoy his or her music at a safer level.

3. Limit exposure time. If you are going to listen to loud volumes, keep in mind that for every volume increase of 3 dB, listening time should be cut if half. If you just can’t turn it down, turn it off for awhile. Avoid exposure to other loud noises such as the lawnmower or hairdryer, and enjoy some peace and quiet.

4. Examine other options. For iPod listeners specifically, ‘limiter’ software can be downloaded from Apple’s website. The limiter on your device restricts the volume to a maximum of 115 dB at its peak. As Dr. Chasin of the Musicians’ Clinic of Canada indicates, this is a very good strategy and smart move in order to protect listeners.

It is important to understand that these steps do not eliminate the risk completely and that prolonged exposure to any loud volumes does carry the risk of potential hearing loss. Like any preventative measures, some work better for certain individuals than others, and as such it is important to find the method that works best for you.

The goal at CHHA is to raise awareness of the hard of hearing community and educate individuals about hearing loss. To learn more about the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, and issues such as personal portable music devices, call Voice: 604 795-9238 Toll-Free: 1-866-888-2442 (In BC Only).

This Press Release is from CHHA National Office, Ottawa, Ontario. All rights reserved

Widespread Addiction to Portable Music Players Increasing Potential for Premature in Youth, Adults Alike – Pt. 1

by Jessica Perreault, CHHA National Office

ipod-nano-green-256x256With increased playing time, easy portability, higher peak decibel levels, and rapid growth in popularity, the portable personal music player has become a ticking time bomb for potential premature hearing loss. While precautions can be taken to handle the risk of damage, those unaware of how damaging their listening habits are may be less likely to change their behavior.

Experts argue that we are not stumbling on some new phenomena that is going to create pandemonium. What we are seeing is a resurfacing of the concerns raised in the 1980’s when Sony put out the “Walkman”. The ‘90’s brought us the “Discman” and now, the millennium has graced us with the “iPod” and many other MP3 players available on the consumer market. The changes in technology have allowed consumers to listen to their devices anywhere, for longer amounts of time, at increased volumes.

Even though information as surfaced regarding the potential harm of personal devices, studies have shown that both adults and youth are not likely to change their listening habits. According to one study conducted by Zogby International for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), half of all youth and adults polled said they are not concerned with potential hearing loss, and approximately the same amount indicated they had no intention of taking preventative measures.

Dr. Marshall Chasin, AuD., M.Sc., Reg. CASLPO, Aud(C ), an Audiologist and Director of Auditory Research at the Musicians’ Clinics of Canada, indicates that the peak decibel (dB) level of these portable devices is approximately 136dB. However, depending on the style of headphones used in conjunction with the device, maximum output can reach anywhere from 50-140dB. To put that in perspective, 140dB is equivalent to a gunshot or firecracker. Listening to 80-85 dB (equivalent to an alarm clock, or telephone dial tone) for approximately 40 hours per week is safe without the worry of inflicting damage. However, for every 3 dB increase in the volume, the safe exposure time is cut in half. That’s a lot of damage potential in a very short period of time.

While research to suggest that age does not affect an individual’s susceptibility is limited, children nowadays are more likely to be exposed to personal music devices early on. As a result, the exposure is increased substantially from what it was for their predecessors. Children are more likely to get into the habit of relying on the portable players than their parents. Still, anyone is just as likely to suffer from the risks of loud noise. Remember, it’s not important who you are and what you listen to, but how you listen to it, when you listen to it, and at what volume.

The goal at CHHA is to raise awareness of the hard of hearing community and educate individuals about hearing loss. To learn more about the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, and issues such as personal portable music devices, call Voice: 604 795-9238 Toll-Free: 1-866-888-2442 (In BC Only).

This Press Release is from CHHA National Office, Ottawa, Ontario. All rights reserved

Visual Voice Message (Voice to Text Messaging)

By Western Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Staff

There is a new service being provided by Telus (and perhaps other carriers). It is called Visual Voice Mail.

Telus describes it as:

“Don’t worry about missing important messages when you are unable to answer your phone. With TELUS Visual Voice Mail, there’s no need to dial in to pick up your messages, you just read them on screen.

Read it instead of listening to it

Visual Voice Mail converts your voice mail messages to text and delivers them straight to you as SMS or email within minutes. The converted message will include the phone number of the caller embedded in the text.

Keep record of your voice mail.

You can view all of your messages in one convenient inbox and have a visual record of who called and what they said. ”

Telus provides this service for a monthly fee of $7.50. However it is currently being offered for a free 30 day trial.

This is the link to the information.

or you can call: 1 800 316 0979 or Visit your nearest store

Comments from WIDHH staff using this service already:

“It works well except if a person does not speak clearly when they leave a msg, a word will either be skipped or spelled phonetically. Also, if the voice message is long, it will cut out some of the mssage and leave a request for you to call and listen to the rest of the message.”

If you are using this system – we would like to hear how it is working for you. If there are tips on using the system effectively – we’d like to hear about that as well.

Reprinted from WIDHH’s Blog – http://widhh.blogspot.com/2008/10/visual-voice-mail-voice-to-text.html