Posts Tagged ‘ hearing loss ’

Some Infant White Noise Machines Could Pose Hearing Risk

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Some infant sleep machines, which produce sounds that are intended to soothe babies to sleep, may, if set at their highest volumes, damage babies’ hearing, according to new research published in the journal Pediatrics.  More from The New York Times:

Infant sleep machines emit white noise or nature sounds to drown out everyday disturbances to a baby’s sleep. The machines, sometimes embedded in cuddly stuffed animals, are popular gifts at baby showers and routinely recommended by parenting books and websites.

Some sleep experts advise parents to use these noisemakers all night, every night, to ensure the best rest for a newborn. Many parents say their babies become so used to the sounds of rainfall or birds that they will not nap without them.

Researchers at the University of Toronto evaluated 14 popular sleep machines at maximum volume and found they produced between 68.8 to 92.9 decibels at 30 centimeters, about the distance one might be placed from an infant’s head. Three exceeded 85 decibels, the workplace safety limit for adults on an eight-hour shift for accumulated exposure as determined by National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. One machine was so loud that two hours of use would exceed workplace noise limits.

At 100 centimeters, all the machines tested were louder than the 50-decibel limit averaged over an hour set for hospital nurseries in 1999 by an expert panel concerned with improving newborn sleep and their speech intelligibility.

“These machines are capable of delivering noise that we think is unsafe for full-grown adults in mines,” said Dr. Blake Papsin, the senior author of the paper and the chief otolaryngologist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. The study was published in the journal Pediatrics. Dr. Papsin got the idea for this study after a parent brought a portable white noise machine to the hospital that sounded as roaring as a carwash.

“Unless parents are adequately warned of the danger, or the design of the machines by manufacturers is changed to be safer, then the potential for harm exists, and parents need to know about it,” said Dr. Gordon B. Hughes, the program director of clinical trials for the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, who was not involved in the study.

Safe use is possible, the study’s authors suggest. “Farther away is less dangerous, a lower volume is better and shorter durations of time, all things that deliver less sound pressure to the baby,” Dr. Papsin said.

Image: Sleeping newborn, via Shutterstock

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Baby Sleep: The Importance of Self-Soothing
Baby Sleep: The Importance of Self-Soothing
Baby Sleep: The Importance of Self-Soothing

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Parents Need to Pay Closer Attention to Loud Music and Hearing Loss

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Parents, particularly the parents of teenagers, are not as aware and vocal about the dangerous effects of prolonged exposure to loud music, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Penn State University.  As a result, teens are at elevated risk of long-term hearing problems.  More from Reuters:

One in eight American kids and teenagers – or more than 5 million – has a type of hearing loss that usually stems from overexposure to loud noises, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Parents can help prevent much of that hearing loss, the researchers said.

For the new study, they collected Internet survey responses from more than 700 parents of teenage children.

Almost 70 percent of the parents had not spoken with their child about noise exposure, mainly because they thought the actual risk of hearing damage was low.

But almost an equal number reported being willing to limit time listening to music and access to other excessively noisy situations to protect their teenager’s hearing, according to results published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.

On the whole, parents seemed willing to take steps to protect their kids, but often underestimated the risks of too much loud music.

“I think it just means that we have work to do in terms of raising awareness,” Sekhar said.

More educated parents and those with younger teens were most likely to be willing to take precautions with their kids, like limiting music time, limiting access to noisy situations or insisting on protective measures like earplugs.

Image: Teenager listening to loud music, via Shutterstock

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Smoking While Pregnant Could Threaten Babies’ Hearing

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Women who smoke while they are pregnant may be putting their babies’ hearing at risk, among other health concerns associated with smoking, according to a study published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology.  More from USA Today:

Previously, prenatal smoking has been linked to negative consequences in children of all ages, including premature birth, low weight or underdevelopment and asthma. Now, a connection also has been made between smoking while pregnant and hearing loss in adolescents, according to a new study published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology.

“Cigarette smoking is probably the worst man-made epidemic,” says Michael Weitzman, study author and a professor at the New York University School of Medicine.

In a group of 964 kids ranging in age from 12 to 15 from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2005-2006, about 16% of parents confirmed prenatal smoke exposure. In most cases, kids with exposure were roughly three times more likely to have mild hearing loss. Kids without exposure also were found to hear better by three decibels in comparison with those who were exposed.

Image: Pregnant woman with cigarette, via Shutterstock

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Study: Second-Hand Smoke Can Cause Hearing Loss in Teens

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Teenagers who live in a household where someone smokes cigarettes has an 83 percent greater chance of developing hearing loss, according to a study published in the journal Archives of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery.  The findings build on previous research that has linked second-hand smoke exposure with respiratory problems, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and asthma.

As The Boston Globe reported:

The study authors, from New York University Lagone Medical Center, noted that teens aren’t routinely screened for hearing loss but that the finding may now warrant screening for those who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

“Health care providers (ie, physicians and nurse practitioners) should add SHS exposure to the list of risk factors for hearing loss and refer these young adults for complete audiologic evaluation to identify early hearing loss,” the researchers wrote, given that 82 percent of the study participants with hearing loss didn’t recognize that they were having difficulty hearing.

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