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How loud is too loud? Doctor addresses mp3 player safety
Contact: Lisa Parro, senior public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health, 630-312-7508 Lisa.parro@ahss.org

If you can hear your child’s headphones from across the room, the volume is way too high, according to Dr. Robert Battista, a neurotologist who treats patients at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. Battista, along with pediatric audiologist Dawn W. Maniskas, will address timely topic in a free lecture, “How loud is too loud? mp3 Player Safety and Hearing Loss.” The event is presented by Adventist Hinsdale and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospitals.

The lecture will be offered twice: at 6:30 p.m. March 17 at Hinsdale Community House, 415 W. Eighth St., Hinsdale, and at 6:30 p.m. March 31 at Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital, Dixon Center, 5101 S. Willow Springs Road, La Grange. 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.”

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,” Maniskas 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.”

Adventist Hinsdale Hospital’s Center for Hearing Restoration and Ear Research offers 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.