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Re: [AUDITORY] How to speak to people about hearing loss and high sound pressure levels

THere is a group in San Francisco, H.E.A.R. (http://www.hearnet.com/)  that has been in\volved in educating rockers and audiences  all over the country about hearing loss and noise exposure since 1988. The group was started by Kathy Peck and Flash Gordon, M.D. (yes, that is his name).   In fact, this weekend they were at a music festival on Treasure Island educating the audience.  Also, carry ear protection when you go out to events.  Simple over the counter ear plugs give about 28 dB attenuation.  Better than vaseline and cotton!


Here is a blurb from their website.  

H.E.A.R.'s mission is the prevention of hearing loss and tinnitus among musicians and music fans (especially teens) through education awareness and grassroots outreach advocacy.

H.E.A.R. Hearing Education and Awareness for Rockers is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to raising awareness of the real dangers of repeated exposure to excessive noise levels from music which can lead to permanent, and sometimes debilitating, hearing loss and tinnitus. Damage from loud sound can occur from playing music, attending concerts, dance clubs, raves, using stereo earphones, playing amplified systems too loudly, or other noisy activities. We're here for musicians, DJs, sound engineers, music fans (especially teens) and anyone needing help with their hearing.

H.E.A.R. got started in l988 when rock and roll musician Kathy Peck joined forces with local physicanFlash Gordon, M.D. in San Francisco. After attending an excessively loud concert, Kathy and Flash decided to address the problems and dangers of loud music. As a former bass player and singer for the San Francisco rock band The Contractions, Kathy had suffered hearing damage while playing a set at the Oakland Coliseum in l984. The repeated exposure to excessive noise caused a ringing sensation in her ears called tinnitus, as well as decreasing her ability to hear. Though a professional and personal setback, the injury provided the incentive for Kathy to throw her energies in a new direction. With the help of Flash Gordon, Kathy launched H.E.A.R.

H.E.A.R. receives no state or federal money and depends entirely on contributions and private foundation donations. H.E.A.R. has been recognized around the world for its diligent efforts both to educate the public on the dangers of excessive noise, and to provide adequate hearing protection for musicians and music fans. From public service announcements in mainstream media, to information and earplug tables at concerts across the U.S., H.E.A.R. is dedicated to promoting awareness of hearing damage. As a voice of concern between the music and medical communities, we are determinded to make our message heard. H.E.A.R. wants you to enjoy the music for a long, long time.

Since our inception in 1988, H.E.A.R. has received support from some of the most respected, popular, and influential names in the music and medical industries. From performers such as Pete Townshend of The Who, Lars Ulrich of Metallica, and Les Claypool of Primus, to media giants like MTVGuitar Player MagazineBass Player MagazineKeyboard Magazine, and MIX Magazine; from medical groups such as The American Speech-Language and Hearing Association, The American Academy of Audiology, and The American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, to trade groups like the National Association of Music Merchants, Audio Engineer Society, Consumer Electronics Association, as well as The Recording AcademyTEC Foundation,Les Paul Foundation,The Monterey Pop Festival,The Bill Graham Memorial Foundation, Mack's EarplugsAearo CorporationWestoneEtymotic Research,RPGVirgin Megastores , Ziljian, South by SouthwestFuture Sonics, Shure and Energizer. H.E.A.R. is recognized and supported as leading the charge against preventable hearing damage.

Hearnet is our interactive website that is updated regularly, providing information and resources ontinnitus, hearing loss, hearing evaluation referrals, hearing aids and assistive listening devices (ALD's), as well as a referral service of audiology partners, ear doctors, and entertainment links.

In addition to distributing information, H.E.A.R. conducts hearing evaluation clinics in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as producing school programs, and public service announcements with music celebrities for national radio, TV and cable networks. H.E.A.R. has established H.E.A.R. Affliates world wide.

We want you to be part of the H.E.A.R.Story. We want you to have access to our H.E.A.R. Partners for audiological and medical referrals; entertainment and business links. Check out our public service announcement with Lars Ulrich of Metallica. Look for "Can't Hear You Knocking ©" video. Stop by and see us when we're at concerts. Sign up for our contests. Become a H.E.A.R. Partner sponsor. Whatever works for you.

Cruise around our site and and see what we've got for you. Check out our Events Calendar, and see what concerts H.E.A.R. will be promoting and when we'll be in your town. Hear what your favorite musicans are saying over at Artists of the Month. Get info on hearing problems and resources and find out if you're at risk. We'll be making noise and adding stuff all the time, so make us a favorite stop when you're out on the web. ROLLINGSTONE Magazine's Online Web Watch recommends HEARNET for sound information on how to prevent hearing loss

On Oct 13, 2013, at 6:05 AM, Bob Masta wrote:

Another line of "reasoning" is that "Hey, I've done this
lots of times... sure, my ears ring for a while afterwards,
and I can't hear so well, but by next morning I'm fine."

They think they have totally recovered, which is *proof*
that the exposure was harmless, and you are just an old an
old fuddy-duddy worry-wart.

I generally use the example of the late Joe Hawkins, who
famously used himself as a TTS test subject back in the
Early Days.  He was convinced that led to (or at least
accelerated) his later hearing loss.  But that example
typically "falls on deaf ears" when talking to young

Best regards,

Bob Masta

On 13 Oct 2013 at 1:09, Kevin Austin wrote:

An on-going topic -- very high level [dB] sounds, hearing loss, personal and societal responsibility.

Once or twice a year I am invited and go to an event where the sustained sound pressure [dB] levels will be in excess of 95dB, and often into the 105 - 110+ dB range. I am usually long gone before the levels have drifted up to this point, however they usually start in the 85-90dB range. I use a combination of Vaseline [petroleum jelly], and water- [spit-] soaked paper tissues / Kleenex, to seal my ear canals. At the last two events I left, about 20% of the people were babies or children under 7-9. They were
brought close to the speaker stacks, and the younger children enjoyed playing in front of the speakers.

My question is not one about NIHL etc, which is documented, but rather one of how to speak to the people responsible, before and/or after the event about the damage that is being caused by these environments. If this were a work place, there would be laws, rules, regulations and ways of changing the behavior. In these social environments, rules and regulations don't apply. And I'm talking 3 or more hours of continuous 105+dB.

There are currently two students in our university electroacoustic studies program who have reported their hearing condition to me in some detail, along with audiograms, and possible hyperacusis. Discussing this with many younger people tends towards the "teenage invincibility syndrome" [will never happen to me], and in older people, there is a general ignorance or lack of understanding, often paired with an attitude that indicates, "if it really is a problem, there would be laws about it". There are. But, in
my experience, there is a fundamental ignorance of what happens, and what has been happening for the past 35 - 40 years.

As the professionals in the field, what can be done? and how can it be done? Is it a matter of this "silent plague", simply eating up the hearing of those who are under 40 such that they will not be able to hear in 15 - 25 years.

Recently, this appeared:

Thu, 09/12/2013
Blake Wilson, Graeme Clark, and Ingeborg Hochmair were awarded the Lasker Award this week for their contributions to the development of the cochlear implant. The Lasker Award is essentially the American Nobel prize, and  this is an incredible recognition of not only the importance of cochlear implant technology but also a much broader acknowledgment of the importance of hearing and communication by the entire scientific community. There will be several events over the next few months building on this
recognition with interviews with the Lasker awardees, a dedicated one-hour show on PBS with Charlie Rose and Eric Kandel on hearing, and finally a two-day workshop sponsored by the Institute of Medicine on hearing loss in older adults in January.

It is noted that this seems to be mostly about cochlea-based hearing loss in older adults.

Other items on stem cell research growing back hair cells have been seen in the media. However, these reports do not address a major cause of the problem, exposure to high dB levels. As I understand it, this developing technology may have little effect on tinnitus caused by nerve damage.

Are there ways to have the media take cognizance of and report on the dangerous environments which persist?

As professionals, is there any individual or group responsibility regarding making this better known and the [likely] consequences more clearly understood? Is this like the cigarette situation where the 'evil' is not only socially acceptable, but expected so that the event has 'street cred'? Club owners and Rave organizers want blood-letting levels, "because the customers want it".


Bob Masta

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Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute
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