Snoring doesn’t just interfere with the snorer’s sleep. When it comes to couples, one person’s snoring often means sleep trouble for two. And it isn’t only sleep that can suffer. Snoring can put great strain on relationships. A snoring problem often creates not only tiredness but also frustration and resentment between couples. It can interfere with sexual and emotional intimacy, and can push couples to sleep in separate bedrooms.

There are many good reasons to treat snoring, including restoring sleep quality, guarding against risks to health, and improving daytime functioning. Protecting the health and intimacy of your relationship is another important reason to treat a snoring problem.

How can snoring cause so much trouble within a relationship? Snoring, a form of sleep-disordered breathing, interferes with sleep quality and sleep quantity, both for the person who snores, and, often, for the person who sleeps with a snorer. Poor quality and insufficient sleep interfere with our thinking skills and judgment. Lack of sleep can make us irritable and short-tempered. Poor sleep diminishes our ability to manage conflict well, increasing negative feelings and reducing our ability to empathize. Lack of sleep has been shown in scientific research to make couples feel less appreciative of each other, and to experience greater feelings of selfishness. Sound like a recipe for relationship difficulties? It is.

What’s more, snoring itself can become a focal point of both frustration and shame within the dynamic of a couple’s relationship. The person who is kept awake (or who has to shuffle off to the spare bedroom in the middle of the night) may grow to feel resentful of his or her snoring partner. The snorer, meanwhile, often feels guilty, ashamed, and helpless about their noisy, disruptive sleep. These feelings can be a real source of irritation and isolation for even very loving couples.

It’s no surprise that snoring often sends couples to separate bedrooms in search of undisturbed rest. Some couples may find that sleeping apart suits them well, and doesn’t diminish their feelings of closeness. But many couples very much want to sleep together—but can’t, because of a snoring issue. Sleeping apart can interfere with intimacy, sexual and emotional. Couples may find themselves having sex less often when they’re regularly sleeping apart. Partners also may miss the physical closeness of sleeping together, and the emotional bond that it confers for many people.

Snoring isn’t the only reason that couples resort to sleeping apart. Different schedules and different preferences for bedtimes and wake times may lead couples to separate sleeping spaces. Issues within a couple’s sleep environment—a room that’s too hot, or too bright, or a bed that’s too small—can also drive couples to different rooms. But snoring is a common reason. Think you’re alone in sleeping separately from your partner? Far from it. Estimates vary, but recent studies and surveys indicate that anywhere from 25% to 40% of couples are regularly sleeping in separate bedrooms.

It doesn’t need to be this way. Tending to a snoring problem can pave the way for couples to sleep peacefully—and quietly—together, and help to improve the way couples relate to one another during their waking day.

Tending to a snoring issue can lead to better sleep for both partners, as well as a more loving and harmonious relationship that includes sleeping together, not apart. Sleeping well with the person we love is the goal, and by treating snoring effectively, it can happen.

Check out the new earplugs Soundz Relax and Soundz Uni Relax and sleep quietly!

Sources: psychologytoday.com

Hunting season is here! Hunting and shooting are popular pastimes for Americans, but for those who hunt without hearing protection, this could be the season you permanently damage your hearing. While the gun range is usually a tidy row of shooters in earmuffs, out in the woods it’s a different story. Most hunters think one gunshot won’t do much damage, and they hunt without protecting their ears so they can listen for the subtle sounds of animals approaching. Here’s why this is a big mistake.

It’s all About the Decibels

Noises are classified by decibel (dB) levels. While things like normal conversation or background music are well within safe ranges, sounds over 85 dB are considered dangerous to your hearing. Things like city traffic and lawnmowers are around 100 dB, while an ambulance siren, a jackhammer, or a loud rock concert is about 120 dB. Even a few minutes at this volume will cause damage, and hearing specialists suggest wearing hearing protection.

Now let’s talk about gunshots. A single gunshot is over 140 dB! This is the same volume as standing right next to a jet engine about to take off. For example, a small .22-caliber rifle produces sounds around 140 dB, and big-bore rifles produce sounds over 170 dB. At these levels, a single gunshot is enough to cause severe and permanent damage in a split second.

Kristen Monroe, a hunter and writer for Outdoor News, knows how damaging firearms can be to your hearing. She’s ruptured her ear drum twice, and now struggles with tinnitus, or permanent ringing in her ears. All it takes is one shot. And for those who hunt with friends, the risk increases as several earsplitting shots will go reverberate around you at the same time, further damaging your ears.

Studying Hearing Loss in Hunters

A study by the University of Wisconsin looked at several thousand men over 40 who hunt each season. They found that hunters were more likely to have high-frequency hearing loss, and this risk increased by 7% for every five years the men had hunted. Those with high-frequency hearing loss have difficulty hearing consonants like “s”, “th”, or “v”. They will often think others are mumbling, and won’t get their hearing tested since they don’t realize they have hearing loss.

Of all the men who participated in this study, only 5% reported wearing hearing protection at some point in the past year! 95% reported hunting with no ear protection.

How to Protect Your Hearing

As a hunter, the last thing you want is foam earplugs that muffle all the sounds around you. Earmuffs will dampen the sounds you’re trying to hear, like the flapping of ducks’ wings, or the twig snapped by a deer. However, ignoring the risk of hearing loss is not the answer. Once the damage to your inner ear in done, it can’t be undone.

Wear Hearing Protection: The first line of defense against hearing loss is wearing hearing protection. From foam earplugs to top-of-the-line protection, don’t go out into the woods without thinking about protection. Hunters love active or digital hearing protection. These high-tech earmuffs or earplugs decrease dangerous sounds but allow soft and moderate sounds to enter the ear naturally. This means you can leave them in during conversation, when taking a break from shooting, or when you’re listening for that deer to make a sound.

Don’t Take Them Off: Just because you’re not the one shooting doesn’t mean you can ditch the ear protection. You still need to be protected if someone near you is shooting. If you’re hunting with a group or waiting your turn at the shooting range, you should be wearing hearing protection. Even if you’re not the one shooting, you are still being exposed to dangerous sound levels.

Take a Break: Even when wearing hearing protection, your ears need a chance to rest. Take a break between rounds to let your ears decompress. This prevents the volume from building up, and can prevent temporary or permanent damage and protect against tinnitus.

Sitting silently waiting for game is only half the story. Don’t forget about the earsplitting gunshot right beside your ear. It’s loud enough to cause instant and permanent damage in just one shot. Don’t let this happen to you. Invest in quality hearing protection and ensure you’ll be able to hear all the beautiful sounds in nature.

Learn about the new hunters and shooters earplugs and protect your hearing from shooting.

We are the gadget generation – and whether it’s our MP3s (which includes iPods) or smartphones, we like to stay plugged in, listening to our favourite band or latest podcast.

But we could be doing our hearing a lot of harm.

According to a new report by the Hear the World initiative, Britons are only second to the US when it comes to music player use – 16 per cent of us listen to our MP3 players on a daily basis, and 9 per cent crank up the volume to maximum.

We talk to the European Audiologist of the Year Robert Beiny and audiological scientist Paul Checkley about the dangers of MP3s and what you can do to keep your ears safe.

What’s the danger?

In our busy and often noisy lives, plugging in your headphones can be a great way to escape.

But more than ever before, we’re listening to music at a high volume, often just to drown out the noise around us.

The Hear the World report, a global initiative to raise awareness of hearing problems, surveyed 4,400 people around the world (including the UK) aged 14 to 65 and revealed that 85 per cent played their MP3 player at more than 50 per cent of total volume.

The real problem is that MP3 players have the ability to blast 104 decibels (dB) straight into the ears – equivalent of standing next to a pneumatic drill (110dB). In fact, any level above 90dB can cause long-term damage to hearing.

‘Research shows that people are frequently listening to their players at a level that’s too high,’ says Robert Beiny, director of audiology at the Hearing Healthcare Practice, Hertfordshire, and spokesman for the Hear the World campaign.

‘In fact, around 1 in 4 people in the UK between the ages of 18 to 24 have been found to listen to music at maximum volume – which is a real concern.

‘Teenagers are now experiencing the same hearing damage as their parents’ generation but at a much younger age,’ he says.

How does loud noise damage the ear?

People with good hearing have tiny hair cells that line the inner ear and these transmit signals to the brain, which are interpreted as sound.

Listening to loud music can flatten these hairs, and although they normally spring back into place, noise damage over a long period can cause them to snap.

The problem – and one that many people don’t realise – is that these hairs do not regrow and so any damage is permanent.

‘The damage isn’t instantaneous. It can take many months or even years for the effect to become apparent,’ says Robert Beiny.

‘But listening to loud music over a long time will gradually weaken the structures in the ear, and this can cause conditions such as ringing (tinnitus) or muffled hearing,’ he says.

Lack of awareness

One of the problems with hearing health is that many people – especially teenagers – don’t recognise the dangers of loud music.

‘I generally think the public are not aware of the damage that loud music can cause,’ says Paul Checkley, audiological scientist at Harley Street Hearing.

‘Historically, at least since the 50s and 60s, people have been aware that industrial noise can cause damage, which is why there has been legislation in this area.

‘People tend to protect their ears when using hydraulic drills, but music has been largely forgotten. What people don’t realise is that any loud sound can damage hearing.’

So, how do you know when loud is too loud? The most simple rule is that if others can hear your music, it’s probably too loud advises Paul Chekley.

‘There are certain signs to look out for when your hearing is being affected,’ adds Robert Beiny.

‘The first is any ringing or buzzing you can hear when you stop listening to your MP3. The other is called temporary threshold shift and is a kind of short-term hearing loss.

‘You might find that if you turn off your player in a quiet environment, the sounds may seem muffled and blurred.’

Damage factors

Anything you listen to can affect your hearing health, not just music. In fact you should be careful with audiobooks and podcasts as well as your music.

Volume

This is of course one of the key factors – the louder you listen to something the greater the damage it will have on your ears.

‘It’s hard to quantify a safe set level because the output of every player is different,’ says Robert Beiny.

‘However, a good rule of thumb is the 60/60 rule. You should only listen to music at 60 per cent volume, and you shouldn’t listen for more that 60 minutes in one sitting,’ he says.

Location

Where you do your listening can actually have a big impact because it affects the level you need to set your player.

‘If there’s noise around you – maybe on a tube or a busy public space – people tend to turn the volume up high to block this out, increasing their risk,’ says Robert Beiny.

Headphones

The standard MP3 headphones don’t seal the ear and let in extraneous noise from outside, often prompting people to turn up their player volume.

There are three types of headphone that can help reduce the damage:

  • The old fashioned ones that sit right over the ear – look out for ones with decent cushioning.
  • The ones with electronic limiters that actively cancel out noise.
  • The ‘bud’ type earphones that have a custom sleeve and sit right in the ear, sealing against outside noise.

‘High quality earphones are a good investment because they will block more of the environmental noise, allowing the user to reduce the volume and still hear the music comfortably,’ says Paul Checkley.

Music type

Surprisingly, music that people think is going to be most dangerous isn’t necessarily the worst. In fact, classical can be as damaging as heavy metal or rock.

‘I have patients who are jazz, classical and rock musicians and so I don’t think that one type of music is any safer or more dangerous than any other,’ says Robert Beiny.

‘It’s simply the volume at which you listen to it,’ he says

Resting your ears

Listening to non-stop music doesn’t give the cells in the ear time to recover.

So, you should always try to have at least 10 minutes of quiet for every hour of music you listen to.

‘One thing that doesn’t help is that MP3s now hold so much music,’ says Robert Beiny.

‘In the days of tapes or CDs, you may have had a couple of albums with you – but you would soon run out of songs. Now you can have 100,000 songs and listen to different tracks all day.’

Diet

What you eat can actually have an affect on your ears, and a good diet can help stave off hearing loss.

‘Antioxidants can be really good for hearing because they improve the blood supply to the inner ear, slowing down the deterioration of the hair cells,’ says Robert Beiny.

Try to include avocados, tomatoes, oily fish and red wine in your diet, which are rich in antioxidants.

Smoking

On the other hand, smoking is bad for the blood supply to the inner ear, constricting the blood vessels in the area.

‘Research has shown that smokers are much more susceptible to hearing damage than non-smokers,’ adds Robert Beiny.

Other dangers and what you can do about them

It’s not just MP3 music that can damage you hearing – noise is all around us and it can be difficult to avoid.

Background noise: people are continuously bombarded by sound – in this industrial age when you step out on the street, there’s noise all around you. So, if you have any ear problems, be careful in noisy places.

Clubs and concerts: make sure you give yourself a break when you’re on a night out. Don’t stand near the speakers and rest your ears every hour for a good 10 minutes.

Noise at work: if your workplace is noisy, there are legal rules for employers.

‘If the average noise level is 80dB, employees should be made aware of the possibility of damage,’ says Paul Checkley. ‘At 85dB, employers should actively take steps to reduce noise levels at source and provide personal hearing protection if levels can’t be reduced.’

At Earmedical we provide complete solutions to protect your hearing with the specialized Soundz earplugs for your every need.

Sources: netdoctor.co.uk

Just as autumn is a glorious time to throw open the windows and enjoy some fresh air, winter is a time to keep them closed and fight off the chill. But the home-baked smells and warmth of the season aren’t the only things we’ve trapped inside — so is the noise generated by daily living. And while many sounds are absorbed by the soft interiors of our homes — think curtains, furniture and carpeting — our hearing health depends on our ability to keep inside noises at acceptable levels this time of year.

What does noise have to do with my hearing health?

 According to the National Institutes for Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), as many as 24 percent of Americans under the age of 70 have noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).

 

NIHL can be caused by a one-time exposure to a loud sound, such as an explosion, or prolonged exposure to sounds exceeding 85 decibels (dB). The louder the sound, the shorter the amount of time it takes to damage your hearing. Noise affects the delicate structures of the inner ear, most especially the stereocilia which are responsible for translating the sounds our ears collect into electrical impulses to send to the brain. Each hair cell is responsible for translating a specific frequency. Once these hair cells are damaged or die, they do not regenerate, meaning our ability to hear those frequencies is permanently altered.

Is my house really that noisy?

You might be surprised how loud daily household items can be. How loud is too loud? Basically, if you are unable to carry on a conversation with someone standing beside you, it’s an indication that the volume on the television or stereo is set too high or the appliance is too noisy.

According to Quiet Home Lab, even common household appliance decibel levels can be harmful to your hearing over time. Because hearing damage from excessive noise is cumulative, be aware of the decibel levels of your appliances. Here’s a good rule of thumb for some common appliances you may use on a daily basis:

  • Vacuum cleaner: 60-85 dB
  • Hair dryer: 60-95 dB
  • Blender: 80-90 dB
  • Washing machine: 50-75 dB
  • Television audio: 70 dB
  • Doorbell and telephone ring: 80 dB
  • Garbage disposal: 70-95 dB

The next time you’re in the market for a new appliance, read the information carefully. Many manufacturers include decibel levels on newer models to help consumers choose accordingly.

How can I protect my hearing?

Although the damage noise inflicts upon your hearing is permanent, it’s good to know it’s also preventable. It’s never too late to begin protecting your sense of hearing.

  • Turn down the volume, especially on the television, car radio and any other personal electronic devices you use on a daily basis.
  • When it’s time to replace household appliances, look for those which operate at lower decibel levels.
  • Invest in a pair of noise-canceling headphones if you engage in a noisy hobby such as woodworking.
  • If your home environment is still too noisy, purchase some foam earplugs online or at the local drugstore and wear them when you know you’ll be exposed to excessive noise.

Most importantly, schedule an appointment with a hearing healthcare professional for an annual hearing evaluation.

Learn about Soundz’s special earplugs, which are appropriate for your needs and protect your hearing from harmful noise.

Sources: healthyhearing.com

Hearing loss in the workplace

Mining, military, music, construction, manufacturing, carpentry… all these occupations have one thing in common: they’re among the noisiest professions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 22 million Americans are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work, making hearing loss the most common work-related injury. The Department of Labor estimates $242 million is spent annually on worker’s compensation for hearing loss disability.

But even quiet workplaces aren’t any guarantee you won’t be working with colleagues who have hearing loss — or won’t develop it yourself somewhere along the way. Regardless of what side of the desk you’re sitting on, hearing loss in the workplace presents a unique set of challenges and implications for employees and employers alike.

Working with hearing loss

According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, approximately 48 million Americans report some degree of hearing loss. Of them, 60 percent are either in the workplace or an educational setting.

Besides making communication difficult, untreated hearing loss can actually cost you money. According to a study by the Better Hearing Institute, those with unaided hearing loss earned on average $20,000 less annually than those who wore hearing aids.

So how can you even the playing field? First, have your hearing evaluated by a hearing healthcare professional. If you have hearing loss that can be treated with hearing aids, buy the ones that fit your lifestyle and budget. If you are unable to afford the technology you need:

• Ask if your hearing center offers a payment plan or foundation to help those with demonstrated financial need.
• Check with your employer to see if you qualify for Vocational Rehabilitation. To find what hearing health services are covered and if you qualify, visit your home state website or search the internet for “vocational rehabilitation” and your state name.

How employers can help

It isn’t just the hard-of-hearing who are losing out. The Better Hearing Institute study also revealed that untreated hearing loss costs the United States as much as $18 billion in form of unrealized federal income taxes. That’s a lot of money that could be used for public education, defense and infrastructure, not to mention programs for the sick and needy. It’s also a good reason for employers to work with employees who have hearing disabilities.

“As a business owner and employer, there is absolutely nothing as valuable as good staff,” Adrian Hill, co-author of Breaking the Sound Barrier, Succeeding at Work with Hearing Loss, said. “It is harder to find than you might imagine. I simply would not tolerate anyone who hindered the effectiveness and motivation of a good employee.”

If your workplace is noisy, you probably already know and have implemented hearing protection protocols required by OSHA. But what about those employees who have hearing loss — regardless of the onsite noise levels?

In addition to your legal obligations of providing a equal opportunity workplace under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Hill recommends employers work with their employees who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to draft a statement to send to the rest of the staff. In it, include concrete guidelines for how everyone can work together effectively. Additionally, work with your employee to identify a quiet place to work, preferably in an office with walls and a door.

“Stress the benefits to everyone,” Breaking the Sound Barrier co-author, Gordon Eddie, said. “If it’s easier (for deaf and hard-of-hearing employees) to hold discussions at their desk, conversations will be quicker and everyone can get their jobs done faster. That’s good for the team, which is good for the company.”

How colleagues can help

Even if you aren’t the boss, you can still help create a positive workplace environment when deaf or hard-of-hearing coworkers are present:

• They may use lip-reading skills to better understand the conversation, so face them when you speak. Make sure your face is visible and, if possible, well-lit during the conversation.
• Speak clearly, not loudly, and don’t jumble or slur your words.
• Keep phone calls as short as possible and confirm key points at the end of the call.
• As much as possible, be mindful of extraneous workplace noise, especially that which might occur right by their desk or office. Making an effort to avoid impromptu conversations or talking over office partitions will go a long way in creating a comfortable working environment for everyone.

If you have normal hearing, treat those who have hearing loss with respect and give them the tools they need to be successful members of the team. If you have problems with your own hearing, know your rights in the workplace and seek treatment from a hearing healthcare professional you can trust. Creating a pleasant, effective work environment takes effort on the part of everyone, regardless of your ability to hear.

Check out the new earplugs Soundz Work Pro and Soundz Uni Work and protect your hearing from harmful workplace noises.

Sources: healthyhearing.com