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House Ear Institute Warns Public of Impact of Noise on Hearing

Study Results Presented in Advance of April 28, International Noise Awareness Day, Confirm Effects of Noise on Hearing for Audio Professionals, Musicians and General Population

Los Angeles - April 27, 2004 - A new study released this month by scientists at the House Ear Institute confirms the impact of noise on our hearing.

Statistics gathered from thousands of hearing tests conducted on people working in the music and sound industries indicate that repeated exposure to high levels of sound results in marked frequency hearing loss that is uniquely characteristic of noise-induced inner ear damage. These statistics have implications for the general population, who may be exposed to environmental noises on a daily basis that exceed the 85-decibel range and can contribute to hearing loss over time. Some noise sources that may present a risk for noise-induced hearing loss with regular exposure include recreational activities such as rock concerts or sporting events, shooting firearms, listening to personal and car stereos at excessive levels, operating power tools and yard maintenance equipment, using blow dryers/hair dryers and commuter noise (train/car/bus).

HEI researchers emphasize that noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the one type of hearing loss that is preventable, and encourage everyone to carry earplugs and wear hearing protection in noisy environments. They also encourage you to reduce volume levels on stereos, remove yourself from the source of sound whenever possible, and get a hearing test from alicensed audiologist.

The House Ear Institute established its Sound Partners (TM) program as an initiative to provide education and outreach activities that promote hearing conservation and noise awareness to music and audio professionals and the general public. Sound Partners joins with the League for the Hard of Hearing in New York and other hearing conservation organizations in announcing the ninth International Noise Awareness Day on April 28, 2004, as a reminder to 'turn it down."

"For more than 56 years the House Ear Institute has provided hearing conservation information based on research about the dangers of excessive environmental noise and how it affects individuals," says Jim Boswell, CEO, House Ear Institute. "It is gratifying to see a day designated to practicing better hearing conservation that is internationally recognized."

About the House Ear Institute

The House Ear Institute (HEI) is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to advancing hearing science through research and education to improve quality of life. Established in 1946 by Howard P. House, M.D., as the Los Angeles Foundation of Otology, and later renamed for its founder, the House Ear Institute has been engaged in the scientific exploration of the auditory system from the ear canal to the cortex of the brain for more than 55 years.

Our scientists continue to explore the developing ear and ear diseases at the cell and molecular level, as well as the complex ear-brain interaction.

They are also working to improve hearing aids and auditory implants, clinical treatments and intervention methods. For information on the House Ear Institute, please call (213) 483-4431 or visit the Website at www.hei.org. For information on the Sound Partners (TM) program of the House Ear Institute, please contact Marilee Potthoff at (213) 353-7078 or soundpartners@hei.org.

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