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FOR RELEASE: May 9 , 2006
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Avoid Hearing Loss While Using New Products
May is Better Speech and Hearing Month

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) are offering tips to consumers to help them avoid hearing damage from improperly using personal stereo systems like iPods. With total sales topping 42 million since the product’s inception, public health care professionals are concerned more people will lose their hearing unless precautions are taken.

Nearly 10 million Americans have hearing loss as a result of excess noise exposure, according to ASHA, and that number could increase with the popularity of personal stereo systems. Noise-induced hearing loss is cumulative and permanent. However, in this case it can be preventable by keeping the volume down.

Some tips to protect your ears while using personal stereo systems include:
Keep the volume down.
Avoid prolonged and continuous listening to the systems by taking frequent breaks.
Wear headphones that isolate the wanted music from background noise. Headphones that fit over the ears are better than the ear buds (headphones that come with the players) that fit in one’s ears because they block background noise.

For more information about noise-induced hearing loss, contact your local county health department for information regarding their Audiology and Speech Language Pathology Services. You can also contact the OSDH Child Guidance Service Coordinator for the Speech Language Pathology Program, Beth Martin, at 405/271-4477.

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