ASA 129th Meeting - Washington, DC - 1995 May 30 .. Jun 06

5pMU3. Acoustic hygiene: The importance of protecting ears, lungs, and other organs from acoustic insult.

Michael A. Zagorski

Dept. of Psych., Memorial Univ. of Newfoundland, St. John's, NF, Canada

While the importance of controlling noise is widely accepted, the major concern has been with annoyance. The public is not generally aware of the potential severity of even a few noise exposures. Most people do not realize the extent to which they use acoustic cues in daily life, nor the extent of debilitation associated with recruitment or loss of binaural abilities. Similarly, most do not realize that a flyover producing short-term noise measurement of a little over 130 dBA can have the same effect on the lung as 2 lbs. of TNT exploding a meter or two from the body. It is argued here that to promote acoustic hygiene the public must be made aware that hearing loss is a complex and serious handicap that is not generally corrected with hearing aids. To do this emphasis must be placed on the importance of acoustic cues in everyday activities even without speech, the handicap produced by not being able to localize, the difficulty of hearing in crowds, and the annoyances of hearing aids. A number of methods for illustrating the effects of hearing loss and the value of normal hearing will be presented and demonstrated. [Work partially supported by the National Research Council of Canada.]