(CNN) — Listen closely, concertgoers. Next time you go to a music festival, you might want to pack earplugs. A new study found that they can prevent temporary hearing loss immediately following loud music exposure.
Researchers assigned 51 normal-hearing individuals attending an outdoor music festival in Amsterdam to wear earplugs or not. During a four-and-a-half hour window, 25 wore silicone earplugs and 26 did not. The time-averaged, sound pressure level experienced during the festival was 100 decibels, according to the the study, published Thursday in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.
Participants, who were an average age of 27, took a baseline hearing test before the concert.
After the concert, they were tested again to show whether there was a loss in hearing. Researchers found that the group wearing earplugs had a temporary shift in hearing of 8%, while the group without earplugs had temporary shift of 42%.
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Several structures comprise the outer ear. The most readily seen is the pinna, also called the auricle. The pinna is made up of a frame of cartilage that is covered with skin. The pinna has obvious folds, elevations, depressions and a prominent bowl – all of which vary somewhat from person to person but a basic pattern in these features is fairly universal among all people. The pinna acts as a funnel to collect and direct sound down the ear canal. It also serves to enhance some sounds through its resonance characteristics. Finally, it helps us to appreciate front-back sound localization.
The other structure of the outer ear is the external ear canal. The outer two-thirds of this canal has a cartilaginous framework, and the inner one-third is bony. The skin of the external ear canal is continuous with the skin of the pinna. The ear canal is curved, almost “S” shaped and averages about 1 inch in length in adults. The skin of ear canal has hairs (more prominent in some people) and glands that produce wax called cerumen (also more prominent in some individuals than in others). This hair and cerumen serve a protective function for the ear canal. In addition, cerumen helps to lubricate the skin and keep it moist.
Many people are aware that their hearing has deteriorated but are reluctant to seek help. Perhaps they don’t want to acknowledge the problem, are embarrassed by what they see as a weakness, or believe that they can “get by” without using a hearing aid. And, unfortunately, too many wait years, even decades, to address the effects of hearing loss before getting treatment.
But time and again, research demonstrates the considerable effects of hearing loss on development as well as negative social, psychological, cognitive and health effects of untreated hearing loss . Each can have far-reaching implications that go well beyond hearing alone. In fact, those who have difficulty hearing can experience such distorted and incomplete communication that it seriously impacts their professional and personal lives, at times leading to isolation and withdrawal.
Studies have linked untreated hearing loss effects to:
•irritability, negativism and anger
•fatigue, tension, stress and depression
•avoidance or withdrawal from social situations
•social rejection and loneliness
•reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety
•impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks
•reduced job performance and earning power
•diminished psychological and overall health
A comprehensive audiologic evaluation must be completed in order to determine the types and severity of hearing loss to make appropriate recommendations for each patient. Pure tone and speech audiometry as well as the immittance test battery must be completed, in addition to any additional assessments necessary for an exhaustive profile of the hearing system. A balance test called electronystagmography (ENG) might also be needed if dizziness or imbalance is also a complaint. Some patients who are bothered by tinnitus only might have a complete tinnitus evaluation. Finally, the audiologic data provides a clinical foundation for recommendations on hearing aids and other assistive devices suitable for treating the types of hearing impairments listed below.
In general terms, there are two types of hearing loss, conductive and sensorineural. A combination of both is also seen as a mixed hearing loss. Each is discussed below.
HEARING LOSS TYPES
Conductive Hearing Loss
Conductive hearing loss is caused by any condition or disease that impedes the conveyance of sound in its mechanical form through the middle ear cavity to the inner ear. A conductive hearing loss can be the result of a blockage in the external ear canal or can be caused by any disorder that unfavorably effects the middle ear’s ability to transmit the mechanical energy to the stapes footplate. This results in reduction of one of the physical attributes of sound called intensity (loudness), so the energy reaching the inner ear is lower or less intense than that in the original stimulus. Therefore, more energy is needed for the individual with a conductive hearing loss to hear sound, but once it’s loud enough and the mechanical impediment is overcome, that ear works in a normal way. Generally, the cause of conductive hearing loss can be identified and treated resulting in a complete or partial improvement in hearing. Following the completion of medical treatment for cause of the conductive hearing loss, hearing aids are effective in correcting the remaining hearing loss.
The audiometric profile that indicates a conductive hearing loss is the presence of air-bone gaps (better hearing by bone conduction than by air conduction), excellent word recognition at a comfortable listening level, and evidence of a middle ear dysfunction on immittance. For situations where a blockage is noted in the external ear canal, hearing testing is deferred until the canal is cleared.
We’ve long known that too much noise — too loud and for too long — damages our ears and our ability to hear.
But did you know that it also may pose a risk to your heart?
That’s right. A growing body of research shows that people with long-term exposure to loud noise may be more likely to develop heart disease.
So what else do our heart and ears have in common?
Many studies show a tie between cardiovascular disease and hearing loss. In fact, researchers from Wichita State University conducted an analysis of 84 years of work from scientists worldwide on the connection between cardiovascular health and the ability to hear and understand what others are saying. Their work, which reviewed 70 scientific studies, confirmed a direct link.
In a separate study, researchers went as far as to conclude that patients with low-frequency hearing loss should be regarded as at risk for cardiovascular events, and appropriate referrals should be considered.
“The inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow that it is possible that abnormalities in the cardiovascular system could be noted here earlier than in other less sensitive parts of the body,” according to David R. Friedland, MD, PhD, Professor and Vice-Chair of Otolaryngology and Communication Sciences at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, as quoted in a 2015 BHI press release.
Employers must post OSHA Form 300A: Summary of Work-related Injuries and Illnesses
By Neal O’Briant, Public Information Officer, NC DOL.
Employers are reminded that they must post a summary of work-related injuries and illnesses that occurred in 2015. The N.C. Department of Labor requires the summary be posted from Feb. 1 through April 30.
Many employers must keep a Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300) to record work-related fatalities, injuries and illnesses. The Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (Form 300A) is compiled from the data on the log. Companies without any injuries and illnesses should post the summary with zeroes on the total lines. A company executive must certify that they have examined the OSHA 300 Log and that they reasonably believe that the annual summary is correct and complete.
“This posting requirement is an important way employers keep their employees informed about safety and health conditions in the workplace,” said Wanda Lagoe, bureau chief of the Education, Training and Technical Assistance Bureau. Companies that had 10 or fewer employees at all times during the previous calendar year are exempt from keeping injury and illness logs and posting summaries. Certain businesses classified in specific low-hazard industry classifications are also exempt from keeping injury and illness logs and posting summaries unless requested to do so for survey purposes. The list of exempt industries changed effective Jan. 1, 2015.
For more information about recording criteria or for a list of exempt industries, contact the Education, Training and Technical Assistance Bureau at 1-800-625-2267 or locally at 919-807-2875. The OSHA 300/300A 301 are available in Workplace Applications software.
To download a free copy of the OSHA 300, OSHA 300A or OSHA 301, as well as recordkeeping instructions, visit our website at www.nclabor.com, click on the Publications tab, then click on the Forms link. The list of exempt industries is also available here.
I recently calibrated a Monitor MI-5000B and noticed that Telephonics TDH-39 earphones were being used. I found this strange, since, in my experience, all Monitor audiometers exclusively use Telephonics TDH-49 earphones.
I contacted Van Anderson, President of Monitor Instruments, and asked him if they had dropped using TDH-49 earphones. His answer was no. At times TDH-49 earphones can be in short supply. If they cannot find other supply sources for TDH-49 earphones, Monitor will use TDH-39 earphones until TDH-49 earphones become available again.
Does this alternate earphone have an impact on the performance of Monitor audiometers? The answer is no, since the earphones are calibrated to ANSI audiometer standards. All things equal, they will yield the same hearing threshold levels as TDH-49 earphones.
Can either TDH-39 or TDH-49 earphones be calibrated to Monitor audiometers? The answer is yes and no. Mr. Anderson stated that Monitor audiometer firmware version 9.23 has the best output latitude to accommodate both models of earphones. For lesser firmware versions, TDH-39 earphone may be used, but it’s best to contact Monitor Instruments to discuss feasibility before proceeding.
How does this impact the customer? This does not impact the customer in any way. They can be assured that Monitor audiometers will perform as specified.
How does this impact service providers who distribute and calibrate audiometric equipment? If the technician is calibrating the same Monitor audiometer year after year, there should be no problem in knowing what model earphone is being used. However, if a new Monitor audiometer is ordered for a customer and that audiometer is calibrated to TDH-39 earphones, distributors will be given the choice of taking possession or deferring possession until the TDH-49 earphone becomes available again. If a customer states that they just acquired a new Monitor audiometer, technicians will need to pay attention to the model earphone being used and calibrate accordingly. Mr. Anderson stated that TDH-49 earphones will always be the preferred earphone for their Monitor audiometers. Thus, few audiometers will ever be using the TDH-39 earphones. Regardless, anyone who calibrates Monitor audiometers will need to be vigilant.
The new two-year bipartisan budget, signed by President Obama on November 2, 2015, allows (in fact requires) OSHA to raise its citation penalties for the first time in 25 years. Since 1990, OSHA has been one of only three federal agencies that were specifically exempted from a law that required federal agencies to raise their fines to keep pace with inflation. A section of the budget bill—entitled the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015—eliminates this exemption for OSHA.
The law now requires an initial penalty “catch-up adjustment,” which must be in place by August 1, 2016. The catch-up adjustment is tied to the percentage difference between the October 2015 Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the October 1990 CPI. Because the October 2015 CPI will not be available until November 17, 2015, the actual percentage increase is unknown at this time. However, based on recent CPI, the increase will likely be in the range of 75% to 80% over current penalty amounts.
Pictured is one of Workplace Integra’s Mobile Units in KY, January 2016. The Van Technician looks at a slight delay caused by Winter Storm Jonas. He cleaned off the van and arrived on-time at the clients site, ready to test!