Over 36 million Americans Suffer from Hearing Loss! That is over 4 times the amount of people living in New York City!
Over 18 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss are younger than 65.
3 Types of Hearing Loss Sensorineural Hearing Loss oHearing loss caused by aging, illness, and excessive exposure to noise (noise-induced hearing loss). Conductive Hearing Loss oHearing loss occurs when sound waves are prevented from reaching the inner ear. Mixed Hearing Loss oHearing loss caused by a combination of both sensorineural and conductive hearing losses.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss or NIHL is on the rise in America. Our ears are exposed to higher levels of noise more today than ever before. This hearing loss is: Permanent 100% Preventable Can occur at any age!
How We Hear: Outer Ear The outermost part of the ear is called the pinna. The pinna acts like a funnel directing sound waves into the ear canal. The sound waves then travel through the ear canal to the ear drum. The sound waves vibrate the ear drum and those vibrations are transmitted to the middle ear.
How We Hear: Middle Ear The middle ear is made up of the hammer, anvil, and stirrup bones. These three bones are the smallest in the body and are collectively known as the ossicles. The ossicles amplify and transfer the sound vibrations from the ear drum to the inner ear. hammer anvil stirrup
How We Hear: Inner Ear The inner ear is made up of the semicircular canals and the cochlea. Each part of the inner ear is very different in form and function to the human body. semicircular canals cochlea
Inner Ear: Semicircular Canals The semicircular canals are the portion of the ear that helps detect movement and maintain balance. The semicircular canals are filled with fluid, and as we move, it is that fluid that allows us to detect the movement and maintain our balance. semicircular canals
Inner Ear: The Cochlea The cochlea houses the organ of Corti. As sound vibrations move through the cochlea, they vibrate the microscopic hair cells found within the organ of Corti. The vibrations of these hair cells trigger the electrical impulses sent to the brain from the auditory nerve, allowing us to hear. From David J. Lim. Functional Structure of the Organ of Corti: A Review. Hearing Research, 22 (1986) 117-146 Elsevier cochlea auditory nerve
NIHL (Noise-Induced Hearing Loss) Hearing loss as a result of prolonged or sudden exposure to loud noise. When our ears are exposed to levels of noise over 85 dB, the tiny hair cells in our cochlea can become disorganized and damaged from too much and too harsh of vibrations. Once the hair cells break, they will NEVER grow back, this causes hearing loss. From David J. Lim. Functional Structure of the Organ of Corti: A Review. Hearing Research, 22 (1986) 117-146 Elsevier
Muffled hearing or ringing in the ears after you leave a noisy environment. oThis is temporary noise-induced hearing loss and is a sign that some damage has been caused to the hair cells in your ears. Trouble hearing certain consonants such as “s,” “sh,” and “t.” Difficulty hearing when background noise is present, such as in a restaurant. A constant or intermittent ringing, buzzing, or hissing in your ear. o This is called tinnitus. o Often a symptom accompanying hearing loss. If you think you have a hearing loss, visit an audiologist. Signs of NIHL
A state licensed health-care professional that holds either a doctoral degree or a master’s degree in audiology from an accredited university. Audiologists perform any of the following functions: oprescribe and fit hearing aids oassist in cochlear implant programs operform ear or hearing-related surgical monitoring odesign and implement hearing conservation programs and newborn hearing screening programs oprovide hearing rehabilitation training such as auditory training speech reading listening skills improvement An Audiologist is…
30 dB Whisper 60 dB Normal conversation or a dishwasher 70 dB A vacuum Cleaner 80 dB Alarm Clock 90 dB A hair dryer, or lawn mower 100 dB MP3 players at full volume 110 dB Concerts and sporting events 130 dB Ambulance Noise levels or loudness are measured in decibels (dB). Any loud noise over 85dB is considered loud enough to cause NIHL.
Walk Away If the noise is too loud, you don’t have to be near it, avoid it walk away. Moving back 10 to 15 feet from the noise can reduce the intensity that is going into your ears. Avoiding loud sounds can be a highly effective approach for protecting your hearing. o Be aware of how long you have been in a noisy environment, exposure time also plays a role in NIHL.
Turn It Down TVs, car stereos, and MP3 players are often culprits of dangerously high noises. Most volume controls do not have a safety point for when the (dB) level is too high. Turning down the volume will reduce prolonged exposure to harmful decibels. o Try to keep the volume at 50%. o When listening to anything with ear buds or ear phones: if someone next to you can hear what you are hearing, it is probably too loud.
Wear Ear Protection If you know you are going to be around noise over 85 dB, the best solution is to wear ear protection. Generic earplugs – Must be pushed far in the ear for the best seal. Custom earplugs (made to fit your ear) See your audiologist for these, similar to what musicians and pilots wear. Earmuffs- must cover the full ear NOT FASHION EARMUFFS Look for the NRR rating to know the approximate decibel reduction the ear protection provides.
If you think you might have a hearing loss. Visit www.HowsYourHearing.org www.HowsYourHearing.org to find an audiologist in your local area and set up an appointment for a hearing screening.