Common Sounds That Can Cause Permanent Hearing Loss

Daily driving a motorcycle or convertible vehicle can contribute to hearing loss.

Daily driving a motorcycle or convertible vehicle can contribute to hearing loss.

Statistics show that some 14 percent of people between the ages of 45 and 64, and one in three age 65 and older experience some degree of hearing loss. Some hearing loss is attributed to natural causes like age, earwax buildup or otosclerosis, an overgrowth of the middle ear bone. But in most cases, it can be attributed to noise exposure.

Noise is all around us every hour of every day. That’s concerning because hearing loss can occur after just a one-time noise exposure at 120 decibels, such as gunfire, or with continuous exposure to noise at levels of 85 decibels or above over a prolonged period of time.

Here are just a few common noises that can cause permanent damage to your hearing:

85-100 decibels:

  • Garbage trucks
  • Power mowers
  • Motorcycles
  • Convertible vehicles
  • Jackhammers

110-140 decibels:

  • Music concerts
  • Home stereo speakers at maximum volume
  • Jet engines
  • Firecrackers
  • Nail guns
  • Ambulance sirens
  • Chainsaws
  • Home stereo speakers at maximum volume

It’s important to know that just one minute of exposure to noises at levels of 110 decibels or higher can result in permanent hearing loss. The good news is that noise-induced hearing damage can be prevented by avoiding or limiting exposure to certain noises and by wearing ear plugs when you know you’ll be in high-noise situations.

If you already have suffered noise-induced hearing loss, you have several options to help improve or restore hearing. These include amplifying systems and hearing aids. Call 904-461-6060 to schedule a consultation at St. Augustine Ear, Nose and Throat’s St. Augustine or Ponte Vedra locations.

SAENT Warns Parents of Hearing Loss Dangers

Teens love their music - and they love it loud. Make your your kids know the risks of hearing loss associated with earbuds and high volumes.

Teens love their music – and they love it loud. Make your your kids know the risks of hearing loss associated with earbuds and high volumes.

Christmas is just around the corner and if you’re the parent of a teenager, it’s practically a given that his or her gift wish list includes a mobile phone, music player or other listening device. Before you head to the electronics aisle, St. Augustine Ear, Nose and Throat founder Dr. Kalpana DePasquale offers advice that could make a major difference in your teen’s auditory health.

“When it comes to listening, having a teenager can be similar to having a two year old,” Dr. DePasquale said, echoing the frustrations of many a parent. “However, it’s often unclear if they are just not listening or if they can’t hear you.”

In her practice, Dr. DePasquale sees a growing number of teenage, pre-teen and youth patients suffering some degree of hearing loss. She places much of the blame squarely on the increasing use of high-volume listening devices.

“Many communications devices that function as phones, music players, cameras, are now increasingly affordable and accessible to more children and teens,” she said. “Youth clothing is even designed to be fitted with electronic devices and headphones.”

While these devices certainly have a cool factor that makes them popular with young people, they also pose the risk of potentially irreversible damage. Statistics show that one in five American teens will experience hearing loss – a rate that’s 30 percent higher than in the 1980s and 1990s.

“Parents need to inform their teens about noise exposure and how it’s linked to hearing loss,” Dr. DePasquale said. “Young people must understand that noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented. However, once the young person is diagnosed with hearing loss, it is irreversible. Hearing can be
amplified with a hearing aid, but there is no cure.”

If you plan to place a smartphone, music player or other listening device under the tree this Christmas, make sure your teen understands and adheres to the 60/60 rule: “There is a helpful 60/60 rule that states the maximum duration of volume that is greater than 60 percent of the maximum volume should be 60 minutes,” said Dr. DePasquale explains. “Volumes higher than 85 decibels can cause hearing damage and high-pitched sounds can cause damage more easily than lower pitched sounds.”

Some devices like the ever-popular iPod have a setting for volume limits that can be adjusted to 60 percent. Check for this feature before making a purchase. Rather than earbuds that sit precariously at the entrance of the ear canal, go retro and choose the older-style headphones that are placed over the ears instead. And, make sure that teens don’t wear earbuds or headphones while sleeping.

Red-flag indications that your child or teen already has suffered hearing loss include complaints of muffled sounds or of ringing, roaring, hissing or buzzing sounds in the ear; listening to the TV or radio at higher volumes; and difficulty understanding speech. If your child experiences any of these, it’s critical that he or she sees an Otolaryngologist or ear, nose and throat physician for a hearing evaluation. Call 904-461-6060 to schedule an appointment with St. Augustine Ear, Nose and Throat.

Preventable Causes of Tinnitus

Multiple common causes of tinnitus are preventable.

Multiple common causes of tinnitus are preventable.

It’s enough to drive you batty – that persistent ringing, buzzing, hissing or chirping sound in your ears. Luckily, the condition known as tinnitus can be managed with specially designed hearing aids that allow patients to adjust their preferred sound stimulus. But as they say, prevention is the best cure. Fortunately, several of the most common causes of tinnitus are preventable.

The delicate hairs located in your inner ear move with the pressure of sound waves. That movement triggers ear cells to release an electrical signal via an auditory nerve to your brain. Tinnitus occurs when those tiny hairs are bent or broken, sending random electrical pulses to your brain.

Common preventable causes of tinnitus include:

  • Exposure to loud noise from heavy equipment, firearms and extended listening to loud music, especially through earphones;
  • Earwax buildup and blockage. The purpose of earwax is to protect your ear canal by trapping dust and dirt, and to impede bacterial growth. But when too much earwax accumulates, it can be tough to wash away naturally;
  • Taking medications including certain antibiotics, cancer medications, water pills, quinine medications and antidepressants, or taking aspirin in unusually high doses;
  • Head or neck injuries, often caused by falls, automobile accidents or failure to wear proper safety gear when playing sports;
  • Repeated movement or exercise that places the neck in a hyper-extended position, such as when riding a bicycle;
  • Severe weight loss from malnutrition or excessive dieting;
  • High blood pressure, often brought on by stress;
  • Drinking an excessive amount of alcohol or caffeinated beverages.

Protect your ears by wearing earplugs when you know you’ll be around heavy equipment or firearms; playing music at a reasonable volume and avoiding wearing earphones; varying your exercise routine; managing stress and limiting your alcohol and caffeine intake. If you do develop persistent tinnitus, call 904-461-6060 and schedule an appointment with a specialist at St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat.

Hearing Loss Statistics Astound

Three of every 1,000 American children are born deaf or hard of hearing, statistics show.

Three of every 1,000 American children are born deaf or hard of hearing, statistics show.

Hearing loss of some degree is all too common in the United States. Consider these statistics:

  • One in five Americans has hearing loss in at least one ear. That figure represents 48 million people and far exceeds previous hearing care industry estimates of approximately 25 million;
  • 20% of the U.S. population aged 12 years and older has hearing difficulties severe enough to impact communication. This can lead to difficulties in school, at work and with relationships;
  • There exists a direct link between age and hearing loss: Approximately 18% of American adults between the ages of 45 and 54, 30% of adults between ages 65 and 74, and 47% of adults ages 75 and older have hearing some degree of hearing impairment;
  • Three out of every 1,000 American newborns are deaf or hard-of-hearing;
  • Upwards of 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have high frequency hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noises at work or on leisure activities;
  • About 60% of deployed military service men and women have noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), tinnitus (ringing in the ear), and other hearing injuries. In fact, Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans are more likely to suffer impairment of auditory activity than post traumatic stress syndrome.

If you believe you’re suffering a loss of hearing, however mild or severe, it’s highly recommended that you see a specialist. At St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat, our board-certified audiologists can perform a battery of hearing assessments and develop a treatment plan to help minimize continual hearing loss, or even restore your ability to hear. Contact our Jacksonville clinic at 904-461-6060 or via our convenient online form.

Hearing Aids for Ringing in the Ears?

Ringing in the ears or tinnitus is the perception of a sound (i.e. – ringing, high-pitched whining, buzzing, whistling or hissing) that does not have a corresponding external source. Although tinnitus can be a symptom of a more serious medical problem, neurological injury, earwax buildup, withdrawal from certain drugs or ear infections, the most common cause is noise-induced hearing loss. A doctor, ENT specialist or audiologist is needed to rule out potential medical or physical sources that may be causing the sounds a patient perceives.

Xino Tinnitus Hearing Aid - A new solution for ringing in the ears.

Xino Tinnitus Hearing Aid – A new solution for ringing in the ears.

Since it is a subjective irregularity, tinnitus can be difficult to measure using an objective hearing assessment. For some people, the ringing in their ears is infrequent or only produces a faint background noise. For others the condition causes a constant noise that can be so intense that the sensation can still be heard over a very loud external sound. However, many patients who suffer from the annoying condition understand all too well how debilitating tinnitus can be.

The pressing need for relief of benign conditions has led medical researchers to look for better ways to manage the otologic condition rather than cure it. As there is a high correlation between tinnitus and hearing loss, major manufacturers of assistive listening devices, such as Starkey®, have developed a tinnitus solution (Xino Tinnitus) that also functions as a high-end hearing aid, or can be configured for use as either. The state-of-the-art device features 16 adjustable frequency bands that allow the hearing specialist to create a preferred sound therapy stimulus for each patient. Additionally, the Xino Tinnitus hearing aids feature both binaural and monaural controls.

Patients use a BTE (behind the ear) hearing aid with a mini receiver-in-canal (RIC) to personalize their sound therapy stimulus independently of the amplification needed for volume control. Within a selected frequency, a hearing specialist can adjust the spectrum of noise from broadband to narrowband to tailor the results for each patient. If you sufferer from ringing in the ears, contact St. Augustine ENT to determine if you are a good candidate for a tinnitus hearing aid.

Hearing aid technology has come a long, long way

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At St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat, we carry some of the most advanced and stylish hearing aids available on the market today. From Starkey, a leading producer of comprehensive hearing systems and solutions, comes the company’s flagship hearing aid line, Destiny, offering some of the most comfortable, responsive hearing aids we’ve ever seen.

Hearing Aids from Starkey

Most advanced hearing aids on the market

We’re proud to carry this unique line of hearing aids. Let’s introduce you to the Destiny products, the passionate and deeply committed medical research company behind them, and what Dr. Depasquale and the rest of St. ENT can do for you if you’re experiencing hearing loss.

The Destiny Series
The Destiny Series line of hearing aids are 100% digital and powered by the speed and sensitivity of BluWave Signal Processing, a cutting-edge innovative minicomputer system that is designed to handle multiple applications. This progressive behind-the-ear (BTE) instrument features a feedback interceptor, a complex directional speech detector, and automatic telephone response, which virtually eliminates feedback while automatically adjusting for telephone speaker sensitivity.

More features of these cutting-edge hearing aids also include a voice indicator that is customizable to a male or female voice, alerting the user when the battery is low; various audible follow-up reminders, and self-diagnosis checks.

The Destiny Power Plus BTE is adaptable to almost all levels of hearing loss and it’s appropriate for any age of users. The aid easily adjusts to fit securely and comfortably with absolutely minimal obstruction to sound passageways. It’s also incredibly durable and offers the greatest and clearest sound amplification available of any hearing aid on the market. You can learn more about the Destiny line of hearing aid products here.

About Starkey
Starkey’s mission is to “help hearing technology to create connections between people”, and they are doing so by designing, developing, and distributing a comprehensive line of hearing solutions and projects. Hearing loss no longer has to be a stricken burden that creates an impenetrable barrier between people and their relationships with others.

The company has a presence in more than 18 countries around the world and manufactures and distributes from 22 different facilities. The company’s products are designed to be flexible and confortable and meet the needs of users in any environment.

Why We Carry Destiny Hearing Aids
At St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat, our doctors and management staff, including ENT physician Dr. Kalpana DePasquale, are forward-thinkers and only carry the highest-quality products and leading edge technology and instruments in our practice. Offering patients anything less would simply be unacceptable to us. The Destiny line of hearing aids by Starkey embodies our passion and commitment to helping our patients with hearing loss by offering a digital, technology-driven solution.

If you’re experiencing hearing loss on any level, come see us in our St. Augustine office today. Dr. DePasquale will conduct a complete examination of your hearing loss and offer a comprehensive care plan. For many patients, the Destiny hearing aid is the right solution to many hearing deficiencies of all stages.