Listen Up! Recognize And Avoid Hearing Hazards


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Hearing loss is one of the most common medical conditions that affects adults. In fact, about 37.5 million Americans 18 and over report experiencing some difficulty hearing and one out of three people between the ages of 65 and 74 in the United States has hearing loss. See how we’re hurting our ears.

“I think people take it for granted until they lose it.” says Camilo Fernandez-Salvador, M.D., General Otolaryngologist at The Ear, Nose, Throat & Plastic Surgery Associates.

And no one wants to lose it! But some everyday things you do may be causing your hearing loss. First – loud noises … anything above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss.  What’s that mean? A hairdryer can reach up to 85 decibels and some blenders can reach sounds levels up to 100. Next is Q-Tip’s.

Doctor Fernandez-Salvador says, “You’re not really cleaning your ear with a Q-Tip. You’re mostly packing wax, and you can give yourself an ear infection.”

Another factor—your health.

“High blood pressure, cerebral vascular conditions like history of strokes and things of that nature. Thyroid disease, kidney disease, diabetes can do it.  Multiple sclerosis, those are definite ones.” Explains Doctor Fernandez-Salvador.

Smoking can also hurt the ears.

Doctor Fernandez-Salvador says, “It can irritate your airways and you can end up with ear infections, things of that nature. And your cochlear is an organ that needs to be fed, uh, blood. So, if you have chronic smoking, you end up having narrower vessels, lack of blood flow.”

And some dental conditions may be linked to hearing loss.

“Bacteria in your teeth can travel to blood vessels that can cause narrowing or inflammation to adjacent organs.”  says Doctor Fernandez-Salvador.

So, what can you do about it? Studies say try to keep your earbud volume between 60 to 85 decibels. If you have an I-phone, on your health app you can check and see your audio levels and the surrounding environment. Also check your medications for any side effects that may harm your ears

“People forget that some medications have major side effects. Simple things like antibiotics can cause hearing loss.” says Doctor Fernandez-Salvador.

So, remember to lower the decibels now or you may face the silence later.

Summer is also here so you can expect to see people mowing their lawns. If you’re one of them, remember to wear some hearing protection. A lawnmower can range from 80 to 100 decibels.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Cliff Tumetel, Assistant Producer, Chuck Bennethum, Editor, Matt Goldschmidt, Videographer.



REPORT #3193

BACKGROUND: An ear is considered an organ that detects and analyzes sound. Its two main functions are hearing and balance. Sound waves enter the ear canal and vibrate. Once the vibrations reach the middle ear, tiny hair cells then transform them into electrical energy which get sent to the brain. The inner ear is filled with fluid and hair-like sensors. Any sort of head movement causes this fluid to move the hairs and transmit information along the nerves to the brain, which then signal your muscles to aid in balance. There are several conditions that can affect the ears such as an ear infection, tinnitus, eustachian tube dysfunction, and swimmer’s ear. A few ways to help avoid these conditions are keeping your ears dry after a shower or swimming, do not use cotton swabs or Q-tips, keeping the volume of music in a normal range, and getting routine ear exams.


IMPORTANT EAR FACTS TO KNOW: Ears are always working as far as the sound waves entering the ear canal. However, while we’re sleeping, the brain does not process sounds in the same way as when we are awake. Another fact is our balance is essential for daily living and our ears play a vital role in that. Something as simple as an ear infection can cause our balance to be compromised and lead to conditions like vertigo or Meniere’s disease. Our ears are known to be a self-cleaning organ. Earwax, which is made up of oil, sweat, and dead skin cells, helps form a barrier in the ear canal to trap debris. The wax helps protect against any damage to the ear and keeps it clean. Ears are said to have the smallest bones in the body called ossicles. These bones aid in catching sound in the air and relaying them back to the brain. Finally, a very interesting yet fun fact is that our ears are constantly growing.


BREAKTHROUGH RESEARCH FOR HEARING LOSS: Researchers from University College London are gathering data from the first trial of a therapy designed to restore hearing loss. Referred to as REGAIN trial, the study focused on the drug gamma secretase inhibitor LY3056480. Results showed that while the therapy did not restore hearing among the participants with mild to moderate hearing loss, it showed changes in various hearing tests in some, suggesting the drug has some activity in the inner ear. The participants received three injections of the drug into the ear, through the eardrum, then were given a range of tests. One looked at the quietest possible sounds the participants were able to hear, while another test assessed the ability to understand word sounds in a noisy background. Professor Anne GM Schilder, UCL Ear Institute, UCLH Royal National ENT, Eastman Dental Hospitals, and NIHR UCLH Biomedical Research Centre, said, “There are many important lessons from this study which will guide future studies of its kind. For example, the study will help how we best select the patients that may benefit from these new and highly targeted hearing treatments.”


* For More Information, Contact:             Farrin Eddy, Physician Liaison

The Ear, Nose, Throat and Plastic Surgery Associates

Phone: 689-250-3391

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