Audiology in Brief Some noisy toys are loud enough to damage children’s hearing, says the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. Under Health Canada standards, toys are not supposed to emit sounds louder than 100 dBs, but children sometimes hold toys to their ears, getting more exposure. There’s no proof that ... News in Brief
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News in Brief  |   November 01, 2006
Audiology in Brief
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Hearing Disorders / News in Brief
News in Brief   |   November 01, 2006
Audiology in Brief
The ASHA Leader, November 2006, Vol. 11, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.11152006.5
The ASHA Leader, November 2006, Vol. 11, 5. doi:10.1044/leader.NIB.11152006.5
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Among Children
Some noisy toys are loud enough to damage children’s hearing, says the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. Under Health Canada standards, toys are not supposed to emit sounds louder than 100 dBs, but children sometimes hold toys to their ears, getting more exposure.
There’s no proof that toys alone are causing hearing loss, but noise-induced hearing loss is rising among children, and experts agree that toys are part of the problem. “Noise-induced hearing loss is occurring in younger and younger children,” said Gael Hannan of the Canadian Hearing Foundation.
In 2004 a Quebec group, Options Consommateurs, found that more than 60% of toys it tested exceeded the Health Canada noise limit when held within a centimeter of the ear. The Hazardous Products Act bans toys emitting noise above 100 dBs “measured at the distance that the product ordinarily would be from the ear of the child using it.” Health Canada has developed a testing protocol that specifies “ordinary use” distances for eight different groups of noise-emitting toys.
Listening in Noisy Places
A British scientist who is investigating the region of the brain that helps people to hear others in noisy places has won a major science prize. Deafness Research UK, a leading medical charity, awarded the 2007 Pauline Ashley Prize to Sam Irving, a researcher at the MRC Institute for Hearing Research in Nottingham, Great Britain.
Most people with hearing loss have trouble picking out what someone is saying when they’re in a noisy room. To experience the effect, Irving wore an earplug in one ear for a week, producing a one-sided hearing loss. He said the effect was particularly bad while in pubs with friends, where the background hubbub of the bar seemed to be at the same level as the people to whom he was talking.
Irving is trying to locate the place in the brain that is channeling feedback messages back to the ear. He said a likely source is the OCB, the Olivocochlear Bundle. The Pauline Ashley Prize will allow Irving to work with a team of leading OCB system experts led by Charles Liberman at the Eaton Peabody Lab at MIT/Harvard. His study will compare the performance of ferrets that have had their OCB removed with that of normal ferrets in a “ring of sound.”
At the same time, Irving is conducting a study with human subjects who have volunteered to wear an earplug for five days. These subjects will be tested in a similar ring of sound.
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November 2006
Volume 11, Issue 15