Archive for February, 2009

iPod Sales to Boost Hearing Aid Sales

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Yes, it seems as if even the EU directive will step in to help prevent this from happening.

It is estimated that around 10 percent of iPod and MP3 users are listening to volumes that could permanently damage their hearing within just five years. The latest report, from the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health risks, claims that music pumped into the ears over just 90 decibels is dangerous. Personal stereos can reach 100 decibels, but the sound that hits in ear headphones, can reach 120.

Interesting…. here is an article extract from the daily mail with more info:

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iPod users could be forced to turn down the volume under new EU directive


iPod users are likely to have the volumes on their personal stereos restricted over fears that the ‘in ear’ headphones are seriously damaging hearing. 

Up to a tenth of users are listening to volumes that could permanently damage their hearing within just five years, an influential scientific committee has warned.

Personal stereos can currently reach 100 decibels, but the sound that hits the eardrum when using ‘in ear’ headphones, can reach 120dB.

iPod user

Young people are at risk from permanent deafness caused by listening to their iPods at high volumes, a new report shows

And now the latest report, from the European Union’s Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health risks, claims that music pumped into the ears over just 90dB is dangerous.

Meglena Kuneva, the EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner, said: ‘We need to look again at the controls in place, in the light of this scientific advice, to make sure they are fully effective and keep pace with new technology.’

The committee found that more than a million Britons could go deaf because they listen to their music too loud and too long.

Up to 10 per cent of iPod and other MP3 users across Europe are risking deafness if they listen for more than an hour a day for at least five years, it said

That means about 10million could end up sacrificing their hearing simply because they can’t stop listening to music. 

The EU carried out a study into the soaring numbers routinely exposed to high noise volumes through personal music players. 

They say music pumped into the ears above 89 decibels for long periods of time is actually louder than currently allowed in factories. Their report will be welcomed by campaigners for the deaf  –  and the fed-up commuters who have to endure loud music leaking from the earphones of neighbours on packed buses and trains. 

Emma Harrison, head of campaigns at the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, said: ‘Decision makers and opinion formers are finally waking up to the hearing loss time bomb threatening many young MP3 users.’ 

She said the institute had started a Don’t Lose the Music campaign, which raises awareness of the dangers of listening to MP3 players too loudly. 

‘Our research revealed that 58 per cent of 16 to 30-year-olds are completely unaware of any risk to their hearing from MP3 players,’ she said. 

‘The announcement that further action is needed is a vindication of this work. 

‘We want to see the Government and industry taking decisive action to save the hearing of future generations.’ 

The committee said users should turn down the volume on their music players, or, if possible, set the machine’s maximum usable volume at a lower level. 

Between 50million and 100million people across the EU are thought to listen to portable music players on a daily basis  –  equivalent to between six and 12 million in Britain. 

EU consumer affairs commissioner Meglena Kuneva said a conference early next year would bring governments, the music industry and consumers together to discuss the way forward. 

‘I am concerned that so many young people who are frequent users of personal music players and mobile phones at high acoustic levels may be unknowingly damaging their hearing irrevocably,’ she said. 

‘The scientific findings indicate a clear risk and we need to react rapidly. 

‘Most importantly we need to raise consumer awareness. 

‘We need also to look again at the controls in place to make sure they are effective and keep pace with new technology.’

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Audiology Jobs in and around London

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Here is a few of the jobs available this week. These Audiology jobs are in central or on the perimiter of London.

There are more London positions available not listed here. Apart from London we have quite a few Audiology Jobs in the Midlands and also in North and north East England. Should you require information on these please contact us below.

1. Chief Audiologist Job
Just outside London
£29,091 to £38,352 pa
Band 7

Audiology is graphically situated within the departments of ENT, where we support 6 Consultants and Audiological Medicine.

We provide the full range of specialised and routine diagnostic testing including ABR, both in the outpatient department and in theatre, DPOAE testing, VRA and speech audiometry along with our ENT clinic commitment at five centres across the district.

Our rehabilitation service includes digital hearing aid prescription using Auditbase across all of our sites, and so a flexible approach to working off-site is essential.
We also work closely with our ENT colleagues to provide assessment and fitting of bone anchored hearing aids.

The audiology department has developed into a highly specialised diagnostic oto-neurological centre that includes postuography, VNG, ENG, caloric and rotatory chair measurements. The balance centre has a multidisciplinary approach, led by the Consultant Audiological Physician and includes vestibular physiotherapists providing on site rehabilitation.

As Team Leader we would expect you to be competent in all of the above areas.

All applicants must be ready to work in a busy but very friendly, supportive department and hold a BSc/MSc in Audiology or equivalent.

The successful applicant will be fully integrated in to every element of our service and given training where required.

Audiological Scientist Job
Central London

Candidates are invited to apply for the position of Audiological Scientist to join our friendly multidisciplinary. The department is recognised as a major teaching centre of excellence for all professionals involved in the care of patients with hearing and balance disorders and provides full diagnostic investigations of patients with Neuro-Otological problems.

The post provides an exciting opportunity to develop experience in advanced auditory and vestibular test techniques, in this specialised field of Neuro-Otology. Clinical research and teaching are actively encouraged.

Applicants must have a MSc in Audiology, certificate of clinical competence or equivalent and HPC or RCCP state registration is desirable.

The successful candidate will work with the Principal Clinical Scientist (Audiology), two part-time Band 7 Audiologists and a Band 6 Audiologist within the department.

We offer our staff an interest free ticket loan, a subsidised social club including gym and swimming facilities, a library for staff to use, free independent and confidential support for all staff and large retail discounts.

We value and promote diversity and equality in the workplace.

Audiologist – Paediatrics Job
East London
£27,718 – 36,809 p.a. inc
The PCT was established on 1 April 2001, to improve the health and well-being of local people through commissioning health services, directly providing community health services and developing general practice.

This is an exciting opportunity to join a busy Paediatric Audiology Department. We provide a full range of services, including digital hearing aid fitting. We are also in the process of setting up a vestibular clinic. We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic Audiologist(s) to support our service. Applicants must have suitable Audiological Qualifications and also be a registered practitioner with either RCCP or HPC.

There is only one vacancy and depending on experience, we intend appointing to one of the above Bands.

Senior Audiologist Job
Central London
£28,924 to £38,591 pa
Band 6

We are currently seeking an individual to join our paediatric Audiology team. We are a busy, dynamic department and enjoy a close working relationship with Consultants in Audiological medicine, ENT surgeons, Teachers of the deaf, speech language therapy and Psychology. We are a teaching hospital, with links to University College of London and we also have a cochlear implant department.

The post holder with relevant previous experience will be responsible for accurate hearing assessment in children of all ages using a wide range of test techniques and for the fitting, verification and evaluation of advanced digital hearing aids.

Supervision of junior team members and university students will also be required.
The successful applicant will have a graduate/post-graduate qualification in Audiology, will be eligible for state registration and will have significant number of years post qualification experience, in paediatric diagnostic and habilitative Audiology.

Experience with all test procedures, including: VRA, play audiometry, Immittance, click and tone-burst threshold ABR, and OAEs; as well as advanced digital hearing aid fitting, verification and evaluation is essential. Experience with vestibular assessment and auditory processing testing is also highly desirable.

Applications are welcome from people wishing to job share or work flexible patterns. We are committed to equal opportunities.

Send us your CV, or click here for any queries.

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Repair Clinic Champs

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

After operating walk-in repair clinics where the shear numbers of patients resulted in a wealth of problems and unpleasant complaints, we are now operating booked Repair Clinics. This means a more organised system, significantly reducing the waiting time on the day of the clinic and eliminating the disappointment for patients being shown away. However, the 15 min slots remain very hectic even for an experienced audiologist. And even with the help of volunteers to whom one can pass patients for re-tubing etc, it remains very challenging and tiring most of the time.

Over running on any one patient can be catastrophic and so one has to be fast and accurate (at identifying the problem and solving it) yet empathic and patient!

It is however inevitable that you will have one or more of the following scenario’s on each clinic:

  1. A patients who experience every possible problem in the book at once; needs replacement hearing aids, needs impressions, needs adjustments……
  2. A very slow moving patient who takes up to 10 minutes alone to walk to the consulting room
  3. A patient who changes his mind at the very last minute. Just as he is about to leave he says: “I think I will would like to go ahead with your suggestion for a second hearing aid after all, please take that impression”
  4. You open the Corda suitcase the wrong way around and the contents spill over the floor!
  5. A very talkative patient who love to be around some willing ears
  6. A very inquisitive, engineer-like patient who wants to know every possible technical detail and questions every treatment or adjustments to the tee
  7. A repair clinic “regular”; who comes every other week and really only want some TLC and attention and with whom you cant be rushed no matter what
  8. The computer or NOAH crashes
  9. The fire alarm goes off which delays your treatment with several valuable minutes as no-one can hear above the noise!

It is therefore understandable that I aptly call the Audiologists who braves these clinics: Champions of the Deaf!

Dezi Belle

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MRI Scans Could Damage Cochlear Implants

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Here is quite an interesting article published by Reuters on MRIs and cochlear implants. At the bottom there is a link to the Otolaryngology website.
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Tests show that certain MRI machines may demagnetize the magnets used in cochlear implants to couple external and implanted components of these hearing devices, according to a report in the December issue of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery.

Cochlear implants may be an option for those with severe hearing loss. It involves a surgical procedure in which a small electronic device is placed under the skin behind the ear and attached to a wire that stimulates the inner ear, allowing the recipient to hear useful sounds.

Cochlear implants also contain internal magnets used to connect an external processor with the surgically implanted components, Dr. Omid Majdani, of the Medical University of Hannover, Germany, and colleagues explain. These magnets can interact with other magnets, such as those found in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines. MRIs exert strong magnetic fields that may induce voltages or temperatures that could damage the implant or harm the patient.

The researchers examined the extent of damage to the magnets and the temperature changes in cochlear implants exposed to an MRI machine.

They found that demagnetization of the cochlear implant magnets depends on the angle between the magnetic field of the magnet and the MRI. When the angle between the MRI magnet and the implant magnet is greater than 80 degrees, demagnetization reached unacceptable levels.

The maximum temperature increase in the cochlear implants was 0.5 degrees C, within the acceptable limit of 1.0 degrees in any location.

“Although little to no demagnetization occurred if the angle between the poles of the cochlear implant magnet and MRI magnet was up to 80 degrees, identification of magnetic poles is not uniform between patients or scanners,” Majdani’s team found. “Extensive procedural changes would be necessary to ensure that a safe orientation was maintained” before patients with cochlear implants can safely undergo MRI testing.

SOURCE: Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, December 2008.

The link to the original post: Reuters website

To read the more technical stuff click on:

Demagnetization of cochlear implants and temperature changes in 3.0T MRI environment

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Auditory Illusions

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

It is quite common to receive these interesting images that differ from objective reality. For instance

If that is not enough, here are a few more…

Auditory Illusions

Auditory illusions are not as common…or are they. According to wikipedia: An auditory illusion is an illusion of hearing, the aural equivalent of an optical illusion: the listener hears either sounds which are not present in the stimulus, or “impossible” sounds.
In short, audio illusions highlight areas where the human ear and brain, as organic, makeshift tools, differ from perfect audio receptors (for better or for worse).

Here is quite a few good ones… if you have speakers, headphones will be better.

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A few more great ones from the New Scientist

1 Phantom words (Listen through stereo separated loudspeakers, best placed some distance apart)

This illusion was first demonstrated by Diana Deutsch at the University of California, San Diego. Building on the stereo effect described above, the recording features overlapping sequences of repeating words or phrases, located in different regions of stereo space. As you listen to it, you’ll start to pick out specific phrases. However, none of the phrases are really there. Your brain is constructing them, in a bid to make sense of a meaningless noise. Indeed, you may find that the phrases you hear are related to what’s on your mind – for example, people who are dieting often hear phrases associated with food.

2 Temporal induction of speech

Much of human perception is the result of the brain filling in gaps in the data from our senses. This means that if a part of an audio recording is missing, our brains will often work out what should have been there. In this recording byRichard Warren from the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, a spoken sentence is interrupted by a cough. One of the phonemes has actually been completely removed by the cough. But not only do most people hear the complete sentence, they generally find it very difficult to work out which phoneme has been deleted. If the phoneme is replaced by a period of silence, rather than a cough, the deletion is very obvious.

3 Scale illusion (Listen through stereo headphones, or stereo separated loudspeakers, best placed some distance apart)

Another effect first demonstrated by Diana Deutsch, this is an example of our brains “grouping” similar notes together. Two major scales are played: one ascending, one descending. However, the notes alternate from ear to ear – for instance, the right ear hears the first note of one scale, and then the second note of the other (see diagram, top right).

There are several ways in which people perceive these sounds, but the most common is to group the high and low notes together. Rather than hearing the two scales, people hear a descending and re-ascending melody in one ear, and an ascending and descending melody in the other. In other words, the brain reassigns some of the notes to a different ear in order to make a coherent melody. Right-handed people tend to hear the high melody in the right ear, and the low one in the left, while left-handers show a more diverse response.

4 Phantom melodies

Some pieces of music consist of high-speed arpeggios or other repeating patterns, which change only subtly. If they’re played fast enough, the brain picks up on the occasional notes that change, and links them together to form a melody. The melody disappears if the piece is played slowly.

Compare these recordings of Christian Sinding’s Frühlingsrauschen (“Rustle of Spring”). At the higher speed, the changing notes linger in your perception long enough to be linked into a melody, but at the lower speeds they’re too widely separated. (original recording: / Slow recording courtesy of Karle-Philip Zamor)

Frühlingsrauschen, full speed

Frühlingsrauschen, one-quarter speed

More examples and reading on auditory illusions.

Audio Clips from a Japanese institution.

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