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Author: admin | 17.10.2013 | Category: Treatment For Ear Ringing

The World Health Organization says millions of young people around the world are at risk of hearing loss from loud music. And about 40 percent of teens and young adults are exposed to damaging levels of sound at nightclubs, bars and sporting events. WHO says volumes above 85 decibels for eight hours or 100 decibels for 15 minutes are unsafe. The Geneva-based agency recommends that young people take listening breaks, use apps to limit the volume on their smartphone and consider using personal audio players for no more than one hour a day. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites. An assessment by the European Commission Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR).
Portable CD and MP3 devices soldA  To protect most consumers from hearing damage, a 2004 study recommends limiting listening time to one hour per day and setting the volume to no more than 60% of maximum sound output when using headphones that are placed over the ears and less when using ear-buds. Audio producers and engineers seek SNR optimization, have the luxury to use audio equipment with exceptionally high specifications running on AC power, and avoid extensive signal processing.
If you are a good musician, it is critically important to hear your instrument well in order to shape your performance with precision. While pondering his question, I wondered: Exactly what “high-quality audio equipment” could Charles use in order to hear his guitar? To keep things simple, I decided to concentrate on how a musician with hearing loss might use professional-level audio gear simply to practice. Of course, each hearing loss is different, and some problems—such as a loss of frequency discrimination that will interfere with the perception of melody and harmony—cannot be adequately compensated for with modern technology. Although roles often overlap, record producers typically supervise the entire recording process while recording engineers set up and operate the audio equipment.
The best producers and engineers are often excellent musicians themselves, trained to analyze what they hear at a very fine level of detail. Additionally, because their reputations depend on extremely acute listening abilities, top producers and engineers take their hearing very seriously; many use earplugs in loud environments like subways or noisy parties and get annual hearing tests. While both hearing loss and audio recording technology is similar—both fields use microphones, amplifiers, digital signal processing (DSP), and loudspeakers (receivers)—there are substantial differences in how this equipment gets used. By contrast, audio recording technology does not necessarily seek to optimize speech perception. For our thought experiment, my colleagues and I agreed it was important to optimize the SNR through the use of cardioid (directional) mics and high-quality audio technology.
While recording studios take great pains to isolate the studio from outside noise, we agreed Charles simply needed a reasonably quiet practice space, isolated from loud air conditioners and other common noise sources.
Since the lowest note (open E) of Charles’s guitar is about 83 Hz, the Sennheiser MKH 40 P48—with its nearly ruler-flat frequency response from 40 Hz to 20,000 kHz—can easily capture the full range of his instrument.
My colleagues agreed that instead of separate (and very expensive) individual components, the better quality “digital audio interfaces”—which integrate mic preamps and digital converters into a single box—would provide more than adequate quality for Charles’s purpose.
Although closed over-the-ear headphone styles might prevent feedback, in-ear earphones or monitors (eg, Etymotic Research ER-4PT, Figure 6) will likely work best for this system. It is very likely that, even with his hearing loss, the headphone output built into the audio interface will provide Charles with ample undistorted gain to hear comfortably. So far, every effort has been made to optimize SNR and sound quality by using a quiet room, a “close-mic” technique, and some of the finest audio equipment available. If we now add audibly significant amounts of signal processing like equalization or compression, we risk distorting the beautiful sound while adding little (if any) additional perceptual clarity to the music. A modern DAW, such as Digital Performer (Figure 7) or ProTools, typically includes a breathtaking amount of control over gain, sound placement and phase, as well as numerous styles of equalizers, compressors, limiters, reverberators, and other specialized signal processors. For protection against unpredictably loud noises (which modern hearing aids address through various types of compression), he should place a limiter with a fairly fast rise time, a hard-knee, and a high compression ratio on the DAW’s final output fader (Figure 8). Once levels are correctly adjusted, however, Charles should be able to sit in front of the mics, remove his hearing aids, put on his earphones, set a comfortable listening level by turning up the volume on the headphone output of the interface, and hear his guitar as well as his ears will allow with extraordinary sonic clarity. It is quite possible to set up a beautiful-sounding practice system similar to the one I’ve described here; in fact, I use a modified version of this setup (substituting digital synthesizers and samplers for microphones) to compose (see Einhorn9). The purpose of this thought experiment, however, was not so much to “spec” a real setup as it was to focus attention on the differences in approach between the professional hearing loss and audio fields. Practical, high-quality hearing aid systems designed for musicians with hearing loss might find ways to incorporate aspects of this approach into a similar one, perhaps by combining significant recent improvements in music perception via hearing aids10 with the ability to connect easily to high-quality external mics and other equipment.
The graphic points out that the four main ways people lose their ears are through listening to loud music, spending too much time in an industrial work place with power drills and the like, being exposed to the sounds of a racetrack, and being exposed to the sounds of guns firing for long periods of time.
He noted that he got very dizzy because of the inner-ear damage, and when he removed his racing helmet, he found blood.
Another study suggests restricting the maximum output level of personal music players to 90 dB(A) in order to limit the risk of hearing loss. If you have a moderate or severe hearing loss, some kind of electronic amplification will be almost always necessary. I conjured a thought experiment that might provide some insight into the different ways that hearing loss and audio professionals use very similar technologies in their work. To augment my own background in audio, I sought technical advice from multiple successful classical music producers and engineers, each of whom has worked on hundreds of recordings, including classical guitar.
Fortunately, Charles discriminates pitch well in both ears, so my colleagues and I decided to specify a practice system similar in approach to the way producers and engineers record music. Producers like David Frost, a 14-time Grammy winner who records Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony, must be able to rapidly identify a softly played wrong note or the most minor tuning problem. Modern hearing aids are worn on (or in) the ear and include small, often directional, microphones. Instead, the ideal objective is to accurately reproduce the entire audio spectrum (20 Hz to 20 kHz).

Much of the basic equipment and signal flow of the proposed setup will be familiar to hearing care professionals (Figure 2). Illustration of a small diaphragm condenser mic and its polar plot and flat frequency response from the Sennheiser MKH 40 P48 product spec sheet. Several different brands came up in our conversations, but one model was clearly preferred: a small diaphragm condenser mic with a cardioid (directional) pattern (Figure 3). There are a number of common stereo microphone angles used in the music industry for yielding optimum sound quality and stereo balance. Producer David Frost suggested that a pair of these mics be positioned very close to the instrument in order to pick up “as much of the guitar and as little ambience as possible.” The mics should be aimed at the guitar’s soundhole and several different techniques for angling the mics (Figure 4) should be tried for optimal stereo balance and sound quality (eg, see Auld3 and Boudreau et al4). A digital audio interface (DAI) integrates mic preamps and digital converters into a single component. These devices range in price from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, depending upon the number of audio channels and the quality of the electronics (Figure 5). In-ear earphones feature ear tips inserted into the ear, which effectively block ambient sound, provide excellent feedback control, and deliver superb audio quality. If not, the unanimous and enthusiastically recommended choice for an external headphone amp was the $1,600 Grace Designs m903. Having gone to such lengths, many of the acoustical problems a musician with hearing loss might encounter during a typical practice session (eg, too much ambience) have been eliminated. Nevertheless, a small amount of DSP may be helpful and is readily available in the digital audio workstation software.
Digital Performer or ProTools are examples of modern digital audio workstation (DAW) software that can be used to balance and manipulate multiple digital audio signals.
However, in keeping with our approach that less DSP is more, Charles should try only a small amount of high frequency equalization if the guitar sounds muffled to him—about a 6dB boost around 3.5 kHz—but probably not much more.
However, because there are several places where signal gain level can be adjusted (or misadjusted), it can be surprisingly tricky to set signal gain properly. However, such a system can easily cost more than $4,000 (plus computer) and also may be beyond the technical ability of some, but by no means all, dedicated musicians. An average human starts to hear sounds at a certain level that has arbitrarily been defined as 0 decibel. Practical high-quality hearing aid systems designed for musicians with hearing loss might find ways to incorporate aspects of this approach. We would provide our guitarist with extremely high-quality amplification by using superb equipment and ensure he heard his instrument clearly by optimizing the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). Hearing instruments use sophisticated DSP algorithms to significantly alter the sound in an effort to compensate for hearing loss and, to some extent, for less-than-acoustically-optimal mic placement in noisy situations.1 The hearing professional selects a fitting method for the patient’s specific hearing loss,2 solicits feedback from the patient, and fine-tunes the sound of the hearing aids.
Unlike many real-life situations where hearing aids are used, neither the mics nor the sound sources move around very much during recording sessions.
The digital converters should be set to the industry-standard 96 kHz sample rate with a bit depth of 24 bits.5 Such a spectacularly high frequency response and wide dynamic range, which is likely beyond the discernment of even the most experienced listeners with normal hearing,6 will create an audio system of exceptional transparency. For the most comfortable and effective fit, Charles should visit a hearing care professional to have custom ear tips made. This takes time, experience, and patience to do well, but the basic idea is to have the audio signal pass from the mics through the DAW software to the earphones at a level that is neither too low (adds noise) nor too high (adds distortion). Practical approaches for maximising signal-to-noise ratio for music and other applications. These professionals go to considerable expense and effort to use world-class equipment and carefully honed techniques to make the best-sounding recordings possible. In my experience, the audiologists and dispensing professionals do not rely on their own hearing to make adjustments.
Audio professionals place mics wherever they believe the optimal balance between the instrument’s sound and the ambience of the room can be found. We have 15,000 hair cells, but they can deteriorate rapidly if people consistently place themselves in situations where hazardous noise is present. In classical and jazz recordings, producers and engineers try to minimize audible alterations to the natural sound while DSP is typically adjusted not by algorithm, but by ear. Over 50 million Americans suffer from a disease called Tinnitus, which is a non-stop ringing in the ears that results from prolonged exposure to loud sounds.The right bar of the graphic discusses how to protect your ears. For instance, the sound pressure of an aircraft taking off nearby (120 dB) is 1000 times greater than that of a normal conversation (60 dB).
A growing portion of the mobile phones that are currently sold also include a music playing function but it is not clear how many people actually use it. Overall, in the EU, roughly 50 to 100 million people may be listening to portable music players on a daily basis.
The cause for concern is not restricted to music from nightclubs and rock concerts, which can be extremely loud, but extends to the new generation of personal music players which can reproduce sounds at very high volumes without loss of quality. Across the EU, many millions of people use personal music players daily and, if they use them inappropriately, they put themselves at risk of hearing damage. Based on the sound pressure measurements it is possible to establish the average level over a period of time, the highest level recorded, or the continuous sound level that would contain the same amount of energy as the sounds heard.
In their daily lives, people are not exposed to a single sound but to a combination of different sounds from various sources, which can interfere with each other. Exposure to sounds in general will depend on many factors such as the size and shape of a room and how it is furnished, but also on the anatomy of the ear and hair style of the listener.
However, some authors stress that if young people continue to listen to music for long periods of time and at high volume levels during several years, they run the risk of developing hearing loss by the time they reach their mid-twenties. A minimal action level of hearing protection has been set at 80 dB(A) for an 8-hour working day, assuming that below this level the risk to hearing is negligible.
Over several years, repeated daily exposures to relatively loud sounds may result in permanent effects, but findings are contradictory.

This sound level is roughly equivalent to someone shouting or traffic noise from a nearby road. To establish whether exposure of teenagers to music from personal music players may influence their hearing once they get older, long-term studies using more sensitive methods are needed.
The limits are nonetheless relevant to other situations where sound can have harmful effects. Among young people, there are many reports of temporary or persistent tinnitus induced by loud music, but very few studies have focused on the relationship between the use of personal music players and tinnitus. Temporary hearing losses after exposure have been demonstrated, notably among young people attending these events and musicians. However, there is no clear evidence that hearing loss resulting from rock concerts has become more frequent over the last 30 years. In the case of classical musicians, sound exposure occasionally exceeds safe levels, but there is no clear evidence it leads to hearing loss. Certain people with normal hearing thresholds can nonetheless have problems understanding speech due to difficulties in processing sounds. Affected individuals can for instance find it difficult to understand speech in noisy situations, such as a party. Even if no research so far has determined that the same is true for exposure to music, there is no reason to assume that it should be less harmful to the ability to read and memorise than aircraft, road traffic or speech noise. Listening to music from personal music players while trying to read a text is thus expected to affect how well the text is remembered and how much is learnt from it.
It is often associated with hearing impairment, ageing or exposure to loud sounds, and generally involves the part of the nervous system that deals with hearing. However, there is not enough evidence to conclude whether listening to music through personal music players has any similar long-lasting effect. Studies show that young people exposed to loud sounds are more likely to have tinnitus than their unexposed peers. Music can distract the listeners and isolate them from their environment which can be very dangerous when driving or walking on busy roads.
In young adults up to the age of 40, this process is slow and leads to negligible levels of hearing impairment.
Some studies have found a link between aircraft noise and increased blood pressure but it is not possible to conclude that noise caused the changes in blood pressure. Recent reports suggest that people exposed to loud sounds may be at a higher risk of developing certain types of heart disease. The listening habits of most users of personal music players (and mobile phones including a music playing function) are unlikely to exceed those levels. However, some people may exceed them and put their hearing at risk because they set the volume control very high or listen to music at high levels for many hours per day. The maximum volume setting on some personal music players can generate up to about 120 dB(A) which is equivalent to an airplane taking off nearby. While exposure at work has decreased in recent years, exposure during leisure time has increased. Using personal music players can make the listener less aware of potential dangers such as approaching cars.
Excessive exposure to noise can also affect memory, reading and learning in children, which could also apply to music from personal music players. The risk has increased due to widespread use of digital personal music players which can produce clear sounds even at maximum volume. For sound levels above 80 dB(A), hearing damage may occur if personal music players are regularly used for excessive periods of time over several years. Regularly listening to personal music players at high volume settings when young often has no immediate effect on hearing but is likely to result in hearing loss later in life. For instance, harm to certain sensory cells can induce hearing loss at particular frequencies. Sudden very loud sounds, such as explosions, are a lot more harmful to hearing than steady sounds. Prior exposure to safe levels of certain sounds, for instance, can protect the listener from the effects of subsequent exposure to loud sounds, while smoking can worsen the consequences. Hearing deficiencies can be noticed at an early stage by testing sensitivity to high-pitched sounds.
Other methods used to diagnose hearing loss include direct measurements of the reactions to sounds by the ear or by certain muscles. Temporary or permanent ringing in the ear (tinnitus) can also be an early indication of sound-induced hearing loss.
For instance, exposure to loud sounds in combination with other exposures to chemical substances such as heavy metals and organic solvents, or to vibrations may lead to more severe hearing damage than would be expected from sound exposure alone. In addition, new drugs with promising results in animal studies have been developed but further research is needed before they can be used to treat humans.
What are the characteristics of personal music players For a given volume setting, ear-buds tend to lead to a greater sound exposureSource: GreenFacts Personal music players (and mobile phones with such functions) are not only used to listen to music or to radio programs, but also increasingly to watch videos and pictures or store files. In general, for a given volume setting, ear-bud type earphones lead to a greater sound exposure than other types of headphones.
The maximum volume setting on some devices can generate up to about 120 dB(A) which is equivalent to an airplane taking off nearby.
However, some young people set the volume control very high or listen to music through personal music players for many hours per day, thus risking hearing damage in the long term.

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