This health video will focus on the new advancements of hearing help technology to help ease these conditions.
Bill Landers: There is that continual 24 hours a day, seven days a week, buzzing. Host: You might be among the one in three people over the age of 60 who suffers from hearing loss, if so there are a variety of devices out there to help, but they don’t always work as expected. Now innovative therapies can give patients sound help. The sounds of everyday life could be making you deaf. Long term exposure to noise like this or one unprotected blast can cause hearing loss. Sound is measured in decibels. A normal conversation is about 60 decibels. Chainsaws, hammer drills, and jet engines ring in at over a 100, even power tools or lawn mowers can cause trouble. Male Speaker: I drove my first tractor at seven. Host: On his family farm, Bill Landers grew up exposed to louder equipment that years later left his ear ringing a condition known as tinnitus. Bill Landers: Like a low level of secadas just continually make -- Host: According to the Tinnitus association, 12 million people suffer from this form of hearing loss, more than one million suffer symptoms so bad, they can’t work or sleep. For musician Bill Gordon, loud music was the culprit. Bill Gordon: I kept hearing it until the sounds in my head is very clean blank slide, which I have always been looking for. Host: Now audiologists are researching whether a softer sound that music can help. Richard Tyler: Just focus on that tinnitus. Host: The therapy helps patients focus on a sound separate from the tinnitus. Richard Tyler: What we are trying to do is to move the people from the group that are seriously disabled by tinnitus into a group where they are not bothered by it, and you are in charge of your concentration. Host: One theory is that the condition is affected by abnormal brain activity. Richard Tyler: There is a chance that through extended period of listening strategies that the pattern that responsible for the tinnitus and the brain might actually be broken up. Host: A different kind of listening therapy is helping patients who rely on hearing aids. Gerald Blackwill: It’s frustrating because you really want to understand what somebody is telling you. Host: People with hearing aids often complain about distracting background noise. Gerald Blackwill: Sometimes you just—oh I wish I could have heard that. Host: An interactive computer program called Listening and communicating enhancement are laced transient to filter it out. Robert Sweetow: The hearing aids are designed to get the sound into your ear and up to your brain, but what your brain does with it is not going to be a function of the hearing aid. Host: Patients develop better listening skills through a series of exercises and this one try to hear the male voice. The exercise trains patients to focus on just one voice, as the brain gets conditioned it gets easier. Listen again. Gerald Blackwill: That could be the difference between hearing a person, next to you and the person two seats down in a restaurant. Host: You wouldn’t think of sending your child to a sports practice without proper gear, but each day in music class or at band practice, young ear drums are under assault. Catherine Palmer: By the time you are aware that you are saying what a louder or things don’t seem clear you actually have quite a bit of damage. Host: Most parent know loud music coming through headphones is bad for the years, but they seldom think about the damage done in school music program. Catherine Palmer: When you think of a regular ear plug that you might roll you and put in your ear, it takes down certain frequencies of pitches more than others, and for musicians they hate that because their music doesn’t sound correct anymore, they worry about how they are playing. Host: That’s why these ear plugs are special. Loud sound is transferred equally across all frequencies, so they are true to the tones. Male Speaker: My sounds actually better to me because all the other sounds are louder a little bit. Host: The plugs are now requirement in this music class with the hope that what kids practice today to protect their hearing will pay off tomorrow. Musician’s ear plugs range from $10 a pair for pre molded to more than more $200 for a custom plugs and audiologists recommend all of us wear ear plugs when using power tools, lawn mowers or leaf blowers. They are available for just a couple of dollars at home improvement stores.