Physician Partner Resources
Make Listening Safe
World Health Organization (WHO) highlights serious threat posed by exposure to recreational noise.
According to WHO, 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events. Hearing loss has potentially devastating consequences for physical and mental health, education and employment.
Data from studies in middle and high income countries analysed by WHO indicate that among teenagers and young adults aged 12-35 years, nearly 50% are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from the use of personal audio devices and around 40% are exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues. Unsafe levels of sounds can be, for example, exposure to in excess of 85 decibels (dB) for eight hours or 100dB for 15 minutes.
Musical Training May Improve Brain’s Language Skills
Neuroscientists at Northwestern University have made a surprising link between music, rhythmic abilities and language skills. People who have a better sense of rhythm and can move to a beat show more consistent brain responses to speech than those with less rhythm, according to a study published in the September 18, 2013 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.
The findings suggest that musical training could possibly sharpen the brain’s response to language. This is the first study to provide biological evidence linking the ability to keep a beat to the neural encoding of speech sounds. The Northwestern study found that accurate beat-keeping involves the synchronization between the parts of the brain responsible for hearing as well as movement.
Tips Worth Sharing
By sharing these simple hearing protection tips with your patients, you can help them protect their hearing.
- Encourage your patients to get a baseline hearing test followed by periodic retests
- Advise your patients to use ear plugs and/or noise cancelling headphones when exposed to loud noises
- Advise your patients to avoid ear cleaning methods such as ear candling and cleaning with cotton swabs.
Did you know that hearing loss is linked to accelerated brain tissue loss?
John Hopkins Medicine Frank Lin, M.D., Ph.D.