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National Mexican Press Release MTV Spring Break Hearing Awareness

San Francisco based Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers (HEAR), DJ Polywog and Otolaryngologists from the MEEI will be participating in MTVs Springbreak Cancun March 13-16, 2002 to promote hearing loss protection (and evaluate young people's understanding of the risks of loud sound exposures.)

The Problem

Noise induced hearing loss is the major cause of preventable hearing loss in the United States. Noise can cause permanent hearing loss due to hair cell stereocilia damage in the cochlea. Unfortunately, there are no medical or surgical treatments to reverse noise induced hearing loss. High frequency hearing noises tend to cause more hearing damage than equivalent levels of low frequency hearing noise. While federal occupational regulations require hearing protection for workers exposed to 90dB for 8 hour periods, noise exposures> 85 dB are of concern. Prolonged exposure to loud sounds greater than 85 dB can cause inner ear damage leading to hearing loss. The average walkman on a setting of 5 out of 10 is 94 decibels and amplified rock music at 4-6 ft can reach from 120-150 dB( a jet engine at 100 ft is 140dB)! The sound levels at dance clubs is often as high as 115 decibles, powerful enough to cause damage within seconds.

Practical Solutions

So how can you enjoy the music and still protect your ears? Stand away from the speakers. The closer you are the higher the likelihood of damage. Try not to shout when you're on the dance floor, talk when you get to a more quite area. Taking breaks from areas with loud music interrupts prolonged exposure and one way to relax. Use ear plugs! Ear plugs help to attenuate sound. If you are omeone who is constantly expoed in work or just enjoy going to dance clubs or concerts with frequebcy custom ear plugs will do the job without limiting your ability to hear speech as conventional ear plugs may do. Cotton and paper in your ear are no good. They only block out 7dB of sound. If you have: Difficulty hearing others with background noise Use the telephone in one ear over the other because you hear better Hear ringing in your ears (tinitus) You may have hearing damage or loss. Consult an audiologist or hearing specialist for audiologic evaluation.

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