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Hearing Loss Simulations and Counseling

Brian Fligor, ScD, CCC-A

August 10, 2009

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Question

In counseling musicians about hearing conservation and noise induced hearing loss, have you found hearing loss simulators to be useful?

Answer

Yes, hearing loss simulators can very effective in counseling as part of an overall hearing conservation program. At Musicians' Hearing Program (www.childrenshospital.org/MHP) we developed specific noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) simulations to enable people to listen to music as it sounds to those with normal hearing and for varying degrees of hearing loss. We have found this particularly effective with musicians and consumers of music as they can immediately hear the effect that loud listening levels over time may have on their enjoyment and appreciation of music. The severity of the NIHL depends on both the sound intensity and the duration of listening. Our simulations are based on predictions of hearing loss that are accepted by the American National Standards Institute (S3.44-1996), and are processed through software called "Hearing Loss and Prosthesis Simulator (HeLPS)" developed by Sensimetrics Corporation, Malden, MA. Some of the simulations even include tinnitus. These simulations are based on the best available research to date, and can be listened to at our Web site: http://www.childrenshospital.org/clinicalservices/Site2148/mainpageS2148P27sublevel30.html

This Ask the Expert was based on Dr. Fligor's course, Music-Induced Hearing Loss: Risk and Prevention for Musicians and Music Consumers that can be viewed in the AudiologyOnline library: www.audiologyonline.com/ceus/recordedcoursedetails.asp?class_id=13989

Brian Fligor, ScD, is the Director of Diagnostic Audiology at Children's Hospital Boston and Instructor in the Department of Otology and Laryngology at Harvard Medical School. His primary research interests are investigating causes of acquired hearing loss from ototoxicity and noise, particularly in the pediatric population. Dr. Fligor's work on potential for noise-induced hearing loss from using portable media players with headphones has received considerable popular media attention, including being spoofed on David Letterman's show in 2005.


brian fligor

Brian Fligor, ScD, CCC-A

Director of Diagnostic Audiology, ChildrenÂ’s Hospital Boston

Brian Fligor, ScD, is Director of Diagnostic Audiology at Children’s Hospital Boston and Instructor in Otology and Laryngology at Harvard Medical School. His primary research interests are investigating causes of acquired hearing loss from ototoxicity and noise. Dr. Fligor’s work on potential for noise-induced hearing loss from using portable media players with headphones has received considerable popular media attention, including being spoofed on David Letterman’s show in 2005. He is principle audiologist in the Children's Hospital Boston Musicians’ Hearing Program (www.childrenshospital.org/MusiciansHearingProgram), a clinical service geared toward enrolling musicians and music enthusiasts in hearing loss prevention programs.


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