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Keck Medicine of USC-led study finds genetic predisposition for noise-induced hearing loss


Friday, April 17, 2015

Rick Friedman, professor of otolaryngology and neurosurgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and senior author of the study.

By Alison Trinidad

In a new genome-wide association study, an international team led by Keck Medicine of USC neuroscientists has found evidence that some people may be more genetically susceptible to noise-induced hearing loss than others.

Noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common work-related illnesses in the United States, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. At especially high risk are troops in the Armed Forces. In 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported hearing loss as one of the most common disabilities among veterans receiving disability compensation.

Those at higher genetic risk for hearing loss may decide to take additional precautionary measures to protect their hearing prior to hazardous noise exposure, study authors say.

See full article here.

Saints Offense Wearing Custom-Made Earplugs to Battle Seattle’s 12th Man After Tip From Brett Favre


Photos:, article:

Brett Favre is not one to hold grudges. Although Favre was among the quarterbacks who was targeted during the Saints’ bounty scandal, the retired signal caller didn’t make a big deal out of it then, and he’s not making a big deal out of it now, lending a hand to Sean Payton and Co. before their Monday night matchup against Seattle on 12/2. The Saints head coach turned to Favre to get some advice on how to deal with the deafening crowd noise at CenturyLink Field, remembering that the former Green Bay & Vikings quarterback wore earplugs to combat the crowd at the Superdome during the 2009 NFC Championship game in New Orleans. “Favre shared with Payton that the Vikings had designer noise-reduction earplugs custom-made for that game, and Favre said it really helped,” ESPN’s Lisa Salters reported. “So, Payton ordered up 20 of those earplugs.” Salters said that the offensive players were fitted on Tuesday, and they had a couple of practice days to get accustomed to the special earplugs that block out fan noise while still allowing calls at the line of scrimmage to be heard.

Head Injury Uncovers Teen’s Musical Gift



A tone-deaf teenager who spent weeks in hospital with concussion injuries has since discovered the ability to play 13 musical instruments.

Lachlan Connors, 19, from Denver, tried to learn to play the piano before his injuries, but found he had no aptitude for music.

“He really had no talent,” his mother Elsie Hamilton told CBS4.

“I would say: ‘Can’t you hear what’s next?’ (while Lachlan played) something like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and he said: ‘No’.”

Lachlan was a keen sportsman. He loved to play lacrosse, and hoped to play professionally one day.

However, a series of concussion injuries on the field led to seizures and eventually hospital.

“I fell backwards and hit the back of my head on the ground. I remember getting up and feeling really dazed. I didn’t really understand something bad had happened,” Lachlan said.

See full article here.

Aircraft noise linked to higher risk of heart disease and stroke

Source: Reuters by Kate Kelland October 8, 2013

LONDON (Reuters) – Exposure to high levels of aircraft noise near busy international airports has been linked to a higher risk of heart disease and strokes in two separate studies from Britain and the United States.

Researchers in London studied data on noise and hospital admissions around London Heathrow airport while a separate team analyzed data for more than 6 million Americans living near 89 U.S. airports in 2009.

Both studies, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ)on Wednesday, found that people living with the highest levels of aircraft noise had increased risks of stroke, coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.

Stephen Stansfeld, a professor at Queen Mary University of London who was not part of either research team but provided a commentary on their findings, said the results suggested that “aircraft noise exposure is not just a cause of annoyance, sleep disturbance, and reduced quality of life” but may also increase sickness and death from heart disease.

See full article here.


INTEGRAfit iPad® App is here!- Fit Testing For Hearing Protection

After a thorough approval process from our friends at Apple®, the INTEGRAfit iPad® App has been approved and is now available for purchase.

INTEGRAfit is a professional quantitative fit-testing program for any brand of hearing protection (HPD).

Here is the link:

Alternately, Open the App Store on your iPad® and search for “INTEGRAfit”.

The App sells for $999.99 and the “green” headset sells for $485.00.  Total of $1,485.00.   (Apple® iPad® not included)

Once the INTEGRAfit- iPad® App is purchased, you will be directed to to contact us to order the approved INTEGRAfit- headset for $485.00 plus shipping.

Here are the new INTEGRAfit web pages:

If you currently have Workplace Applications audiometric software (HTPro), the data secured from the INTEGRAfit iPad® App will download into the Workplace Applications audiometric software.  Please contact us for details.

You do not need Workplace Applications audiometric software (HtPro) to use the INTEGRAfit iPad® App.

Let us know if you would like to place an order this year and get the cost off the books for 2013!

Please contact us with any questions.


Workplace INTEGRA finalizes 2014 CAOHC schedule

Workplace INTEGRA, Inc. has just finalized its 2014 CAOHC training schedule.  New locations on the 2014 schedule: Macon, GA and Birmingham, AL.

Here are the dates and locations for the first quarter of 2014:

Certification                              Recertification

•January 8-10 (Toledo, OH)    1/9

•January 8-10 (Greensboro, NC)   1/9

•February 5-7 (Louisville, KY)   2/6

•February 12-14  (Greensboro, NC)  2/13

•February 12-14 (Greenville, SC)*   2/13

•March 5-7 (Indianapolis, IN)   3/6

•March 19-21 (Greensboro, NC)   3/20

•March 19-21 (Macon, GA)   3/20

•March 19-21 (Bloomington, IL)   3/20

*Greenville courses are held at Greenville Tech.

Look for the entire 2014 schedule here.



10 Hearing Conservation Noise Monitoring FAQs

Date First Published on SafetySmart Compliance: October 3, 2013

One of the most burdensome OSHA standards (especially for employers in the manufacturing sector) is the Occupational Noise Exposure standard (Sec. 1910.95) which requires you to develop a hearing conservation program to protect workers from potentially dangerous sound levels; and performing noise monitoring is one of the toughest parts of implementing a hearing conservation program. Here are 10 FAQs to help you comply with monitoring requirements.

Q1. When Is Noise Monitoring Required?

A: You must implement a written hearing conservation program that includes monitoring when workers are exposed to noise at levels that “may be” equal or above the so-called “action level,” i.e., •An 8-hour time-weighted average sound level (TWA) of 85 decibels measured on the A scale (slow response); or •An equivalent noise dose of 50%.

Q2. Does PPE Count in the Calculation?

A: No. You must calculate the exposure level assuming workers are not using PPE. In other words, even though hearing protection reduces the level of sound workers experience, you can’t factor these PPE reductions of sound levels into your calculation.

Q3. How Do You Calculate TWA Sound Levels in Decibels?

A: According to Appendix A of the Standard, you calculate the 8-hour TWA sound level, in decibels, from the dose (D), in percent, using the formula:

TWA = 16.61 log(10) (D/100) + 90

Thus, an 8-hour work shift with the noise level constant throughout is equal to the measured sound level. Table A-1 of Appendix A lists specific 8-hour TWA decibel totals related to particular noise percentage doses. So if you know the dose, you can use the Table to make the conversion to decibels.

Q4. How Do You Count Noise Doses?

A: You can also use Table A-1 of Appendix A to make the opposite conversion—TWA decibels to noise dose. So if you know the decibels, you can use the Table to determine dose.

Q5. Must Decibels Actually Exceed the “Action Level”?

A: No. Employers must develop and implement a monitoring program when noise exposure may equal or exceed an 8-hour TWA of 85 decibels. Result: Monitoring may be required even if you’re below the “action level” if there’s reason to believe that you’re close or that actual sound levels might be higher than in test conditions.

Q6. Which Monitoring Method Must You Use?

A: You can choose to use either personal or area monitoring based on which method works best at your workplace. Exception: You must representative personal sampling in circumstances that aren’t suited for area monitoring, e.g., where there’s high worker mobility, significant variations in sound level or a significant component of impulse noise—unless you can show that area sampling produces equivalent results.

Q7: What Sound Levels Must You Include in Noise Measurements?

A: You must integrate all continuous, intermittent and impulsive sound levels from 80 decibels to 130 decibels into your noise measurements.

Q8. What Requirements Apply to Monitoring Instruments?

A: The instruments you use to measure workers’ noise exposure must be calibrated to ensure accuracy.

Q9. Is Monitoring Once OK or Must Monitoring Be Repeated?

A: You must repeat monitoring whenever a change in production, process, equipment or controls increases noise exposures such that:

•Additional workers may be exposed at or above the action level; or

•The attenuation—or reduction—of sound provided by the hearing protectors workers are using may be rendered inadequate to meet the requirements for PPE in the standard.

Q10. What Notice Must You Give Workers?

A: You must notify each worker exposed at or above an 8-hour TWA of 85 decibels of the results of the monitoring. You must also give affected workers or their representatives a chance to observe any noise measurements conducted under the standard.


December 1st, 2013 Training Requirements for the Revised Hazard Communication Standard

OSHA revised its Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) to align with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) and published it in the Federal Register in March 2012 (77 FR 17574). Two significant changes contained in the revised standard require the use of new labeling elements and a standardized format for Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), formerly known as, Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs). The new label elements and SDS requirements will improve worker understanding of the hazards associated with the chemicals in their workplace. To help companies comply with the revised standard, OSHA is phasing in the specific requirements over several years (December 1, 2013 to June 1, 2016).

See entire article here.

Whales record major life events in their earwax

Who needs a diary when you’ve got whale earwax? Hormone peaks, ocean pollutants, stress levels – it’s all there.

The plugs, which can weigh 250 grams and be 25 centimetres long, reflect annual migration patterns. During a blue whale’s six-month feeding season, earwax is light-coloured, filled with fat from its rich diet. As it fasts during migration, a darker layer forms. These layers allow scientists to age whales when they’re found dead.

Now, for the first time researchers have used the earwax to study a whale’s exposure to ocean contaminants from birth to death. “This has opened the floodgates for doing some great analysis,” says Sascha Usenko of Baylor University, Waco, Texas. “Now we can look at the impact of ocean contaminants on these organisms historically, which has always been very hard to address.”

Usenko and Stephen Trumble, also at Baylor University, shaved away at a plug from a 12-year-old male blue whale that was killed in a 2007 boating accident off the coast of California. The layers contained varying concentrations of DDT and flame-retardants. Exposure was highest during its first year, probably while the whale was nursing.

The plug also contained traces of hormones, which are broken down by the body and don’t leave records elsewhere. Testosterone levels peaked at 10 years, marking the beginning of sexual maturity, which can be difficult to determine but is important for conservation efforts. And levels of the stress hormone cortisol increased over the whale’s life, possibly because finding food, migrating and mating all got harder.

Usenko says the earwax method means we can look at how exposure to chemicals in the environment alters a whale’s stress levels, and how exposure today is different from exposure say, 50 years ago.

Journal reference here.

New Policy for NIOSH/PFT Refresher Students

Effective immediately, all NIOSH/PFT refresher students must bring their current NIOSH approved Spirometry course certificates to the refresher course.

New Program Change: 7-Month Grace Period for Certificates

NIOSH-Approved Spirometry course certificates currently expire 5 years after the course is completed.  To renew their official NIOSH course certificates, technicians should complete a NIOSH-Approved Spirometry Refresher course before their current course certificate expires.

However, since NIOSH-Approved Spirometry Refresher Courses may not always be available at the specific time needed, NIOSH is instituting a 7-month grace period to extend the window of time for completing the needed NIOSH-Approved Refresher training.

For example, if the current certificate was awarded on April 1, 2008, then the technician may take a NIOSH-Approved Spirometry Refresher Course within 5 years and 7 months of that date, i.e., until November 1, 2013.

See here for our list of course dates for the remainder of 2013 and the full 2014 schedule.