Johnson City Press Thursday, July 24, 2014
Community Local News

ETSU audiology students helping protect people's hearing

May 21st, 2014 9:00 am by Contributed to the Press

ETSU audiology students helping protect people's hearing

From left to right, in the top row: Sam Hester, Amelia Kirbo, Kathryn Pillippe, Page Waddell, Emerald Lauzon, Dr. Krisztina Johnson; bottom row: Staci Irish, Emily Crewe, Devon Shock.

East Tennessee State University’s audiology program and the university’s chapter of the Student Academy of Audiology are helping to prevent noise-induced hearing loss caused by the high sound levels at local music venues.

Dr. Krisztina Johnson, of ETSU’s Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Patholog,y designed the project to educate those who visit area venues.

Johnson arranged with Dr. Robert Ghent, a research audiologist and manager for Howard Leight Acoustical Testing Laboratory, for the donation of 8,200 pairs of earplugs for the project.

Audiology students and ETSU staff placed jars of earplugs at local venues with loud music. In addition, they provided information about safe levels of noise and the potential damaging effects of excessive noise levels, along with contact information for the university audiology clinic. Students will check and replenish the jars periodically.

Approximately 40 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, and one-fourth of those cases are related to one-time noise exposure to loud sounds or repeated exposure to damaging levels of noise.

Generally, loud music causes temporary hearing loss with recovery after a day or two. 

However, when music exceeds 100 decibels, permanent hearing damage may occur.
Hearing protection is particularly important because it is currently impossible to predict an individual’s susceptibility to noise damage. All noise-exposed individuals should protect their hearing when anticipating exposure to high sound levels, such as those in area clubs.

Wearing foam ear plugs provides a significant reduction in the high- and mid-frequencies. Listeners can still enjoy music, but at a safe loudness level.

The ETSU Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology maintains an audiology clinic at the Johnson City Community Health Center, 2151 Century Lane, and can be reached by calling 929-6902.

For more information about the project, call Johnson at 929-6931 or email johnsonkb3@etsu.edu.

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