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House Ear Institute Launches Online Hearing Conservation Workshop

Los Angeles, CA October 3, 2008 House Ear Institute has created an innovative interactive online hearing conservation workshop. Designed for the general audio consumer and the audio professional, the workshop takes 30 minutes to complete and is available anytime at the institutes website: www.hei.org.

We recognize an audio professionals hearing is critical to their ability to do their job, said Marilee Potthoff, director of marketing and communications at the House Ear Institute. The interactive workshop is a unique tool that allows people the flexibility to learn about their hearing health whenever and wherever in the world they choose.

There are three main sections to the workshop: how the auditory system processes sound, an explanation of noise induced hearing loss and prevention tips.

One in ten people worldwide have a hearing loss, and approximately 30% of them have hearing loss from an over-exposure to noise. Noise-induced hearing loss is usually painless, progressive and always permanent but can also be 100 percent preventable.

For audio professionals, exposure to sound at high decibels without the proper protection can cause an early onset high frequency hearing loss, said Dr. Rick Friedman, practicing physician in the House Ear Clinic. Unfortunately, the hearing loss can impact a persons audio career if the hearing loss is severe enough.

HEI recommends for people to periodically have their hearing tested by an audiologist. Having a baseline exam will make it easier to monitor any changes in a persons hearing level.

Common hearing tests include the pure-tone threshold test (the traditional hearing test), the otoacoustic emissions (OAE) test, speech audiometry and the Hearing in Noise Test (HINT), which was developed by HEI scientists to assess how well you can hear speech in real world situations where background noise is present.

To further prevent hearing loss, audio professionals should closely monitor their exposure to noise levels greater than 85 decibels, take frequent breaks, stand away from the sound source and wear hearing protection such as foam, silicone or custom ear plugs with a noise reduction rating of at least 9dB.

For additional information on hearing conservation, visit House Ear Institutes Sound Partners program at www.hei.org or its new site for teens and young adults at www.earbud.org, where visitors can even request a free pair of earplugs.

About the House Ear Institute

The House Ear Institute (HEI) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to advancing hearing science through research and education to improve quality of life. HEI scientists investigate the cellular and molecular causes of hearing loss and related auditory disorders as well as neurological processes pertaining to the human auditory system and the brain. Our researchers also explore technology advancements to improve auditory implants, hearing aids, diagnostic techniques and rehabilitation tools. The Institute shares its knowledge with the scientific and medical communities as well as the general public through its education and outreach programs.

For more information about HEI please call (800) 388-8612 or visit www.hei.org.

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