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Phonak Lumity - September 2023

“Check Please!”—Check the Noise Level, That Is!

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FARMINGTON, MI – July 26, 2023 – Have you ever thought about how noise levels affect our hearing and communication in other environments we frequent like restaurants and theaters? If you’ve ever experienced a steep communication challenge where noise levels soared to the point that the ability to converse came to a screeching halt during a casual outing, you are not alone. Plus, if you already live with hearing loss, meaningful conversations in settings like loud restaurants can become nearly impossible. Tools and strategies are available to help you determine if an establishment has unsafe noise levels, protect your hearing in such settings, and discover what you can do to improve your communications in those circumstances. The International Hearing Society (IHS) encourages all individuals to have their hearing tested by a licensed hearing aid specialist, from whom they can also learn strategies for success in difficult listening environments. Further, new research, mobile apps, and other resources are available to help you plan for sound-safe dining experiences and protect your hearing.

Mobile Apps There are mobile apps available for downloading on your phone to help you measure sound levels. One such app, Decibel Pro, enables you to measure noise levels in a room. Another product is SoundPrint, a crowd-sourcing mobile app that measures noise levels at restaurants and other establishments around the world. After you measure the volume of a room, you can share that data and give opinions and other sound-related information on the venue. That information is curated and SoundPrint maintains an online directory where users can search for quiet venues, based on the crowd-sharing information.

Quietest Restaurant Chains SoundPrint recently released data analysis of the quietest and loudest restaurant chains in North America*. Panera and IHOP chains were shown to be quieter restaurants across the board. Other details released include a comparison median sound levels of breakfast chains and median sound levels by time of day at the quietest Casual Restaurant Chains. You can find their latest research results at https://blog.soundprint.co/category/data-analysis/

median sound levels in major restaurant chains

International Hearing Society (IHS) President Patrick Kochanowski, BS, ACA, BC-HIS, applauded the awareness that mobile apps are bringing to noise levels in restaurants and other venues, “International Hearing Society is committed to promoting hearing strategies to help all individuals communicate better and protect their hearing. Knowing the sound level of your environment, wearing ear protection in loud environments, and having annual hearing checks are first steps in protecting and addressing our hearing, which affects other aspects of life and health. Hearing aid specialists provide individuals with practical advice to help them hear better in loud social situations.”

Additional Resources IHS is a proud member of the World Hearing Forum, which is promoting, among other things, safe listening through its safe listening initiative and work with international standard development organizations to establish and promote safe listening on smartphones and in public venues. Learn more about safe listening standards here: https://www.who.int/activities/making-listening-safe. Tips on how to better communicate in noisy settings are also available from the Hearing Loss Association of America: https://www.hearingloss.org/wp-content/uploads/TipCards.pdf?pdf=Tipcards. However, the best source of enhanced hearing information can be found by visiting a licensed hearing healthcare professional.  If you are in need of a local qualified hearing aid specialist or hearing instrument practitioner, visit the IHS member directory.

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About the International Hearing Society

The International Hearing Society (IHS) is a membership association that represents hearing healthcare professionals worldwide, including hearing aid specialists. IHS members are engaged in the practice of performing hearing assessments, ordering the use of, selecting, fitting, and dispensing hearing instruments, counseling patients, and providing aftercare services. Founded in 1951, IHS protects, represents, and promotes the interests of hearing healthcare and hearing healthcare professionals. For more information visit www.ihsinfo.org.

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