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2004| October-December | Volume 7 | Issue 25
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Self-reported tinnitus and noise sensitivity among adolescents in Sweden
SE Olsen Widen, SI Erlandsson
October-December 2004, 7(25):29-40
It seems to be a common opinion among researchers within the field of audiology that the prevalence of tinnitus will increase as a consequence of environmental factors, for example exposure to loud noise. Young people are exposed to loud sounds, more than any other age group, especially during leisure time activities, i.e. at pop concerts, discotheques and gyms. A crucial factor for the prevention of hearing impairments and hearing-related symptoms in the young population is the use of hearing protection. The focus of the present study is use of hearing protection and self-reported hearing-related symptoms, such as tinnitus and noise sensitivity in a young population of high-school students (N=1285), aged 13 to 19 years. The results show that the prevalence of permanent tinnitus and noise sensitivity, reported in the total group, was 8.7% and 17.1% respectively. Permanent tinnitus was not significantly related to level of socio-economic status, but age-related differences in the prevalence rates of experienced tinnitus and noise sensitivity were found to be significant. Older students reported such symptoms to a greater extent than younger students did. Those who reported tinnitus and other hearing-related symptoms protected their hearing to the highest extent and were the ones most worried.
The influence of socio-economic status on adolescent attitude to social noise and hearing protection
SE Olsen Widen, SI Erlandsson
October-December 2004, 7(25):59-70
The focus of the present study, of
adolescents, was young people's attitudes towards noise and their use of hearing protection at discos and pop concerts. Comparisons were made between adolescents from different age groups, and with different socio-economic status. Logistic regressions indicated that "worry before attending noisy activities" and "hearing symptoms" such as tinnitus and noise sensitivity could, to some degree, explain the use of hearing protection in noisy environments. Another conclusion to be drawn from this study was that adolescents' attitudes and behaviors regarding hearing protection use differed between levels of socio-economic status. Individuals with high SES expressed more negative attitudes and used ear protection to a greater extent than those with lower SES. This result might indicate differences in the development of future auditory problems among individuals with different levels of socio-economic status. The cause of hearing impairment and tinnitus may not be restricted merely to noise exposure. Psychological aspects, such as attitudes towards noisy environments and the individual's behavior regarding the use of hearing protection may be considered as important factors in the understanding of why the prevalence of hearing related problems has increased among adolescents.
Effects of reverberation time on the cognitive load in speech communication : Theoretical considerations
October-December 2004, 7(25):11-21
The paper presents a theoretical analysis of possible effects of reverberation time on the cognitive load in speech communication. Speech comprehension requires not only phonological processing of the spoken words. Simultaneously, this information must be further processed and stored. All this processing takes place in the working memory, which has a limited processing capacity. The more resources that are allocated to word identification, the fewer resources are therefore left for the further processing and storing of the information. Reverberation conditions that allow the identification of almost all words may therefore still interfere with speech comprehension and memory storing. These problems are likely to be especially serious in situations where speech has to be followed continuously for a long time. An unfavorable reverberation time (RT) then could contribute to the development of cognitive fatigue, which means that working memory resources are gradually reduced. RT may also affect the cognitive load in two other ways: RT may change the distracting effects of a sound and a person's mood. Both effects could influence the cognitive load of a listener. It is argued that we need studies of RT effects in realistic long-lasting listening situations to better understand the effect of RT on speech communication. Furthermore, the effect of RT on distraction and mood need to be better understood.
Effects of low frequency noise on man-a case study
J Feldmann, FA Pitten
October-December 2004, 7(25):23-28
Based on a real case effects of long-term exposure of infrasound on man are outlined. Beside a description of the background of the case together with remarks on the occurred health problems, the main view lies on the proceeding in identifying the special kind of exposure just as possible technical causes. As a source of annoyance a small heating plant was identified, which imitated into the house of the exposed people very low frequency airborne sound far below the common hearing thresholds. The results show clearly the general deficit of research on the effects of low level infrasound on man.
Children's cognition and aircraft noise exposure at home-the West London Schools Study
T Matsui, S Stansfeld, M Haines, J Head
October-December 2004, 7(25):49-57
The association of aircraft noise exposure with cognitive performance was examined by means of a cross-sectional field survey. Two hundred thirty six children attending 10 primary schools around Heathrow Airport in west London were tested on reading comprehension, immediate/delayed recall and sustained attention. In order to obtain the information about their background, a questionnaire was delivered to the parents and 163 answers were collected. Logistic regression models were used to assess performance on the cognitive tests in relation to aircraft noise exposure at home and possible individual and school level confounding factors. A significant dose-response relationship was found between aircraft noise exposure at home and performance on memory tests of immediate/delayed recall. However there was no strong association with the other cognitive outcomes. These results suggest that aircraft noise exposure at home may affect children's memory.
Instruction and the improvement of hearing protector performance
October-December 2004, 7(25):41-47
Too often, in spite of the encouragement of those who advocate the removal of noise from the workplace as the preferred solution to noise exposure, hearing protectors are provided as the first line of defence against noise. Unfortunately hearing protectors are too often supplied with no real instruction or education in their use. This degrades their performance considerably. In this project the attenuation performance of one particular model of earplug was compared with and without instructions to test subjects. The instructions given were the most basic as commonly supplied on the plastic packaging containing the plugs. The attenuation performance (SLC80) of the plugs with the instructions was 16 dB greater than without the instructions. Overall performance was improved in every octave band with smaller associated standard deviations. The comparison showed that even with a very modest amount of instruction attenuation performance can be significantly improved.
Critical period for styrene ototoxicity in the rat
R Lataye, B Pouyatos, P Campo, AM Lambert, G Morel
October-December 2004, 7(25):1-10
The current experiments were undertaken to determine whether or not styrene-induced hearing loss in the rat depends more on the existence of a critical period between 14 and 21 weeks of age than on body weight. For these purposes, two experiments were carried out with mature Long-Evans rats. In the first experiment, two groups of 5-month old rats, but having different body weight (slim: 314 g vs. fat: 415 g) were exposed to 700 ppm styrene for 4 consecutive weeks, 5 days per week, 6 hours per day. In the second experiment, two groups of rats having the same weight: 345 g, but different ages (14- vs. 21- week old) were exposed to styrene in strictly identical experimental conditions. Auditory sensitivity was tested by recording evoked potentials from the inferior colliculus. Surface preparations of the organ of Corti were also performed to complete the investigation. At the end of the six week recovery period following the styrene exposure, a 7 dB permanent threshold shift (PTS) was obtained with the same age animals regardless of the body weight. Consequently, weight was not a major factor in styrene-induced hearing loss. Age was a more critical factor in determining higher sensitivity to styrene. Indeed, the three months old group had 23.5 dB PTS, whereas the five months old group had only a 7.7 dB PTS at 16 kHz. Thus, a 15 dB difference of PTS was obtained between the rats having the same weight but different age. While the weight does not play a major role in styrene ototoxicity, there is a critical period whose duration lasts more than three months and for which the susceptibility to styrene is enhanced.
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