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Hospital offers free hearing seminar

Hinsdale – October means kids are back at school. How is their hearing? Adventist Hinsdale Hospital’s Center for Hearing Restoration and Ear Research presents “mp3 Players and Hearing Loss,” featuring Dr. Robert Battista, a neuro-otologist, and audiologist Dawn Maniskas, at 5 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Hinsdale Community House, 415 W. Eighth St. The free two-hour program will include tips on safely listening to iPods and other portable music devices and spotting signs of hearing damage. Space is limited. To register, call (630) 856-7525.

“People should realize that listening to music at high volume and for long durations is potentially dangerous because it can permanently damage your hearing,” Battista said. “Take care when you put on your iPod and remind your children to do the same. If you can hear your child’s headphones from across the room, the volume is way too high.”

Several studies suggest that 5 to 20 percent of people who use portable music devices with over-the-ear headphones experience either tinnitus or dull hearing. Battista encourages people to limit the volume on their portable music devices. Many portable music devices are built with automatic volume limiter systems, allowing consumers to set a maximum volume control.

“New technology allows iPod users to lock in a maximum noise level for their personal device,” Battista said, “yet many people don’t even realize their iPods have that capability.”

Popular in-ear headphones such as the ones packaged with iPods block less ambient noise than the old-fashioned over-the-ear devices and they deliver sound more directly to the ear canal, resulting in a one-two punch for your ears. At the same volume control setting, in-ear headphones produce noise levels in the ear canal that are substantially greater than noise levels of over-the-ear headphones.

Parents are advised to take their children for hearing tests with doctors affiliated with Adventist Hinsdale Hospital’s Center for Hearing Restoration and Ear Research. Tests are particularly crucial for children who’ve had repetitive ear infections or whose family members have a history of hearing loss.

“Get a hearing test to check on your hearing,” Battista said. “Ten percent of Americans suffer from noise-induced hearing loss.”

Physicians at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital’s Center for Hearing Restoration and Ear Research offer patients and their families a comprehensive range of diagnostic services and surgical treatments for ear and hearing problems. This includes profound deafness treated with cochlear implants, perforations of the ear drum, otosclerosis, acoustic tumors, balance disorders and facial nerve problems. Battista and the other nationally recognized physicians who work with the center provide local patients an opportunity to receive expert services close to home. The center also participates in national clinical trials, giving patients an opportunity to be among the first to experience cutting-edge medicine.