What's in this blog? Hearing Loss and Hearing Aids

"Mankind is terrified of silence, is uncomfortable in the quiet, is this the reason they need so much going on around them that is noisy? "

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wife Says No Hearing Aids, No Talk, She Who Must Be Obeyed

I usually put in my hearing aids after I have my coffee and catch up on the news, blogs and email. Not anymore, my wife misunderstood some our conversations and she has proclaimed. "I won't talk to you until you are wearing your hearing aids".

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hockey Games, Loud ? 100 plus dB

Last Friday my wife and I attended our first professional hockey game. The Texas Stars won 2-1. It was three hours of very loud noises. The game was fast and fun to watch. When the Stars scored a goal, the air horn was loud enough for my wife to cover her ears. There was a little girl a few seats from us wearing hearing protection. Read below to find out why.

Here's a quote from a government study on the noise levels at the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoff's.

Noise Level at Hockey games

During game 3 of the series, the scoring of goals led to fairly obvious spikes in the noise level (Fig. 1figure 
17FF1). A level of 120 dB A is roughly equivalent to the sound level of a jet taking flight. (A-weighting is a filtering function applied to the noise dosimeter so that it is sensitive to input frequencies in the same way as the typical adult ear is.) The intermissions offered a temporary reprieve for the ears, but even during those interludes, the noise level was such that in an equivalent 8 h/day workplace environment, hearing protection would be required by law.
figure 17FF1
Fig. 1: Noise exposure level for the duration of game 3 of the 2006 Stanley Cup finals. Key points of interest are indicated. The red line at 90 dB indicates a derived “safe” level of this 3-hour game. Sounds above the line have the potential (more ...)
The average exposure levels for each game (> 3 hours) were 104.1, 100.7 and 103.1 dB. Standards have been defined for maximum allowable daily noise doses,2 and an average level of 85 dB A for 8 hours is generally considered the maximum allowable daily noise dose. Stated differently, this means that there is a risk of hearing damage if you experience that level of noise for more than 8 hours. For each 3 dB increase in average noise level, the time you can safely stay at a level is halved. Thus, at 88 dB, it would take only 4 hours to reach the maximum allowable daily noise dose, at 91 dB it would take only 2 hours, and so on. For the levels experienced in game 3 of the series, the time to reach the maximum allowable daily noise dose was less than 6 minutes. In terms of projected noise dose, each person in the arena not wearing hearing protection received about 8100% of their daily allowable noise dose. Given that most fans do not wear hearing protection during hockey games, thousands are at risk for hearing damage.
Next time, I am taking my hearing aids out and putting my ear plugs in!

Vintage Audio, Vintage Ears, I Got My Highs Back

I have recently rediscovered how great my vintage stereo sounds with my hearing aids. I had been listening to less and less music because it was no longer fun to listen. Everything sounded flat, dull and muted. I realize now that I could not hear the high notes, no matter how loud I played the music. My wife also had something to say about rattling the plates when turned the volume up too high.

Just to make life more interesting I found some highly regarded vintage audio components at the local Goodwill store. The amplifier, preamplifier and tuner were built by a company named Quad Electroacoustics Ltd. or Quad for short. Absolutely first rate construction and a bit eclectic, like an old MG. The preamp uses 5 pin din connectors and has some interesting features. Now I have something to drive my AR-4X speakers. Not the loudest system but full sound, smooth highs and plenty of mid range and bass. My office sounds much better with something other than computer speakers to use my iPod Touch.

Quad 34 preamp,Quad FM4 Tuner and Quad 606 Amplifier

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Challenging Day, Listening is Hard Work

Today started with a bang when my laptop stopped charging the battery and died. So off to the office at 0630 to swap out a hard drive and try to stay on schedule. 2 hours later, I was on my way to the customer's office when the Streamer battery gave it's 30 min warning. I had charged it Sunday night, I think. I carry a charger with so I only had to live without it for a couple of hours. I spent a couple of hours on the land line with a poor connection talking to a tech who talked like he had marbles in his mouth. He also liked to talk FAST. Arrgh! Half way through the call, disconnected and dial tone. Call tech support and start all over, twice. I think I heard every other word. About this time, the customer's PC decided it was Monday and time to give us a blue screen of death. Time for lunch in Elgin.

After lunch, the Streamer was charged and all I had to deal with was very poor call quality. About 4pm, all three systems were updated and lessons learned.

1. Hearing a phone conversation with both ears is much better than one ear. The Streamer is not a just a gadget, it's become essential to my hearing.

2. Turning up the HA volume did not help. Turning off the hearing aid speakers does make it easier to focus on the conversation.

3. Asking the the guy on the other end of the call to slow down and pause between sentences did help.

4. Sometimes, listening is hard work.

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Lot of Technology on the Dresser

With the arrival of the iPod Touch I took note of what was on my dresser last night.

Hearing Aids in the Dry & Store, batteries changed yesterday morning.

Blackberry charging

Laptop charging

iPod charging and synching

Streamer charging

my wife's head set and Google cell phone charging

3 remotes and the wireless keyboard in their cradles and out of reach of the puppy.

I am screwed if the power goes off

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Can You Speak Louder Please?

I spent several days with two of my brothers, a cousin and some friends fishing in the Ozarks in Arkansas last week. Several times, one of the guys would tell me, "Your speaking too softly, speak up!" I realized that I was talking at a normal volume and the hearing aids were working great. I had to concentrate to speak loud enough to have a conversation.

The hearing aid volume did change several times in the boat and outside in the wind as noise level changed. I heard birds, frogs and other critters than I never heard on my previous trips. I also heard the fly line going through the rod guides when I made a cast. Interesting.

I suspect I will not be the only brother in my family wearing hearing aids in few years.

Apple iPod Touch, Bluetooth, very cool

I spent most of today playing with my new iPod Touch and have to say it is very cool. Best Buy matched their web price which was the same as Amazon. It synched up with my Streamer using Bluetooth on the first try. The sound quality using the hearing aid speakers is better than I expected. I only had one issue late today with the Bluetooth interface. The iPod was very busy playing a song with the Streamer active but all of the sudden, no music going to my hearing aids. What the ?? I fixed the problem by removing and rediscovering the Streamer in the Ipod Bluetooth set-up. The convenience of not using a cable between the Streamer and MP3 player is worth the additional cost of the Touch versus less expensive players. I can now play most CD library any where I travel.  Link to official Apple Ipod Touch