Hearing agency to help with noise trouble

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Staff report

Even thought that the world you live in is a lot noisier than it used to be?

Well, you’re right.


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The potential dangers of what’s commonly referred to as &uot;recreational noise&uot; have never been greater, according to Earl McCall, regional director of Suffolk’s Avada Hearing Care Center.

&uot;Years ago,&uot; McCall said, &uot;most people who came to see us experienced hearing loss because of their work environment or military service, or had occupations where long-term exposure to noise was a problem.

&uot;But these days, it seems noise is all around us, and will all the additional exposure to noise in everyday circumstances, so many people are running the risk of permanent hearing loss unless they find the right kind of help.&uot;

Some recent surveys have backed up McCall’s contention, proving that just about everywhere we go, someone has turned the noise levels up a notch. Some newspapers have begun publishing their own &uot;Restaurant Noise Rating&uot; system as part of regular reviews. Noise levels at some commonly exceeded 80 decibels. Normal conversation, in contrast, is usually around 55 to 60.

To help people understand the nature of hearing loss and what can be done to help, the Avada Hearing Car Center offers Free Hearing Screenings as a community service.

&uot;These screenings are followed by a detailed discussion of the results and the best options to help each patient,&uot; McCall said. &uot;These discussions can also include tips on hearing conservation.&uot;

It’s not just restaurants that can test the thresholds for noise. Movies have been found to include sound levels up to 118 decibels, more than enough to cause ringing in the ears or even permanent hearing loss.

McCall noted that the problem of recreational noise doesn’t just affect those over age 65, which have normally be thought of as the typical candidate for hearing loss.

&uot;One in every five hearing losses diagnosed each year is found in people under the age of 21, the ‘iPod generation,’&uot; McCall said, adding that the best idea is to give a grandchild a book instead of music next time.

Those concerned about should contact the Suffolk Avada at 934-8797.