[Harp-L] Subject: TINNITUS - Ringing in the ears - hearing loss

My own experience with ear pain/hearing difficulty stemmed from  flying.  
Scoffing flight attendants with their assurances that my "little  ear pain" would 
go away with their home remedies frustrated me to no  end since I'd already 
tried them all.  The last time I flew I blew out  one eardrum and the other was 
on the verge of rupturing.  The pain level  was excruciating and I did not 
have a cold/virus/allergies (the common  assumption).  It's just the way it 
works for some of us - related to the  cabin pressurization.   I lucked into the 
office of the one  otolaryngologist in Florida who knew exactly how to help me, 
installing titanium  tubes through my eardrums right then and there (in New 
York they consider  it an in-hospital surgical procedure).  Two days of nausea, 
vertigo and  partial deafness and I was 100% back to normal and able to fly 
home pain free  with my hearing intact.  I'm very, VERY lucky.  But my Dad had  
tinnitus and severe hearing loss and so I'm perhaps a bit more concerned than 
 most.  There are a lot of vitamin/mineral mixtures on the  market claiming 
to help:  I'd try every one before I'd live with  it.  Google Tinnitus and see 
if something speaks to you.  I found the  following article quite informative 
as well:
"Tinnitus and Noise-Induced  Hearing Loss

Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
For many people,  tinnitus is a symptom of hearing loss. Over 90 percent of 
American Tinnitus  Association members report that they have hearing loss in 
addition to tinnitus.  Many of these people have high frequency hearing loss, 
which is often induced by  exposure to loud noise. Healthy hearing habits can 
help prevent hearing loss and  tinnitus. People who do not have tinnitus must 
learn how to protect their  hearing from loud sounds, while people with tinnitus 
must protect their ears,  too: the effects of loud noises can worsen existing 
tinnitus and further degrade  hearing.

Noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by a one-time exposure  to loud 
sound or by repeated exposure to sounds over an extended period of time.  Contrary 
to popular opinion, you cannot "toughen up" your ears by regularly  listening 
to loud noises. It's generally recommended that you avoid loud noises,  limit 
the amount of time you expose your ears to loud noises, and limit the  
intensity of the noises by not standing directly near the sound  source.

What's  Loud?
The loudness of sound is measured in decibels. Earplugs are  recommended for 
sounds of 85 dB and above. But what does 85 dB mean? The  following chart 
shows common sounds and their associated sound  level.

20 dB Ticking watch  30 dB Quiet whisper  40 dB Refrigerator hum  50 dB 
Rainfall  60 dB Sewing machine  70 sB Washing machine  80 dB Alarm clock at two 
feet  85 dB Average traffic  95 dB MRI  100 dB Blow dryer, subway train  105 dB 
Power mower, chainsaw  110 dB Screaming child  120 dB Rock Concert, thunderclap 
  130 dB Jackhammer, jet engine plane (100 ft.  away)  140 dB Shotgun blast, 
airbag deployment,  firecracker
When you are  exposed to sounds above 85 dB, it is recommended you use 
earplugs, earmuffs, or  other protection devices. Disposable foam earplugs are 
cheap, easy to insert,  and effective. Of course, you won't always know how many 
decibels a sound source  emits and whether you accordingly need protection. 
Generally speaking, if you  are in an environment and must shout to be heard by 
someone else, it's too loud.  In addition to inserting earplugs, you can also 
make one of two simple choices:  reduce the noise (turn off the lawnmower, turn 
down the stereo) or walk away  from the source. See someone ahead using a 
leafblower? Cross the street. Concert  too loud? Go to the back of the nightclub, 
or take a break by going outside and  giving your ears a rest. More healthy 
hearing tips are suggested  below.

OSHA Daily Permissible Noise Level Exposure
The chart  below from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration 
outlines  recommended exposure times for various sound levels. Many 
audiologists think the  90 dB rating over an eight-hour workday is excessive and 
recommend exposure to  no more than 85 dB over eight hours without hearing 
protection. The European  Union standards recommend exposure to no more than 85 dB per 
eight-hour  workdays.

Workplaces where sound levels are an average of 85 decibels or  higher for 
more than eight hours must have hearing conservation programs to  protect the 
hearing of workers. Typically, hearing conservation programs include  hearing 
protection devices and education about conservation techniques. For  people who 
are exposed to loud noises through recreational activities, hearing  
protection is just as important, but it's up to the individual to protect his or  her 
own ears and be aware of how long the exposure continues.

Hours Per Day  Sound Level  8 90 dB   6 92 dB   3 90 d7  2 100 dB  1.5 102 dB 
 1 105 dB  .5 110 dB  .25 or less 115 dB
Sounds of less than 80 decibels, even after long exposure, are  unlikely to 
cause hearing loss, although individuals' sound sensitivity can  vary. Of 
course, it's impossible to predict how you may respond to loud noises.  Exposure to 
a one-time-only or a continuous noise may cause temporary hearing  loss. If 
the hearing recovers, this temporary hearing loss is called a temporary  
threshold shift, which typically disappears 16 to 48 hours after exposure to  loud 

However, the hearing loss can also be permanent if the sounds  damage or 
destroy the delicate ear cells in your inner ear called cilia. These  cells, once 
damaged or destroyed, cannot be repaired. Research into regenerating  inner 
ear cells is underway but not advanced enough to be of benefit to  humans.

Hearing Conservation  Tips
Hearing conservation means protecting your ears from excessively  loud 
sounds. Earplugs are recommended when you are exposed to sounds of 85 dB  and above. 
As a general rule, if noise is too loud for you to speak at a normal  
conversation level and be heard, you should wear earplugs, move away from the  noise 
source, or better yet, turn it down. More tips:

1. Be conscious of the noise in your environment. If you are  standing three 
feet away from someone and you can't hear what that person is  saying to you 
the noise level is likely damaging to your  hearing.

2. Wear earplugs during the  trailers at the movies. The volume is typically 
cranked up for these. Ask the  manager of the theatre to turn the volume down 
if the movie is too loud. They  will very often comply with this request.

3. Take earplugs to amusement parks and concerts...and wear them! You  will 
still be able to hear. Earplugs just cut out 15-20 decibels of loud  sounds.

4. Wear earplugs or protective  earmuffs when using a power lawn mower, power 
tools, and noisy household  appliances, like a vacuum.

5. Read the  labels for noise levels on appliances, children's toys, and any 
product that  generates  sound.

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