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Hearing Loss A Concern For Audio Industry Technicians

Hearing screenings draw overflow crowd during AES annual convention (November 08, 2004)

Increased awareness of potential hearing damage from excessive noise levels was evidenced by the huge turnout for hearing screenings during the recent Audio Engineers Society Convention held at Moscone Center in San Francisco. The House Ear Institute, a non-profit hearing health research organization based in Los Angeles, offered free hearing screenings and hearing health information to convention participants throughout the run of the show. This was the 8th year HEI ( has offered the screenings, and demand was at an all time high.

Sound engineers and audio industry professionals are particularly concerned about the hazards of noise induced hearing loss, or NIHL. When an individual is over-exposed to excessive sound levels, sensitive structures of the inner ear can be damaged. This can result in permanent hearing loss. More than 20 million Americans of all ages are regularly exposed to dangerous levels of sound. NIHL can be prevented through the control of sound levels or proper use of hearing protection devices (HPDs), such as earplugs or sound-reducing headsets.

"We've made great progress since introducing the Sound Partners hearing conservation program to the audio industry in 1997," said Marilee Potthoff, director of marketing and outreach, House Ear Institute. "We've seen an encouraging shift in the awareness of the issues of noise and hearing loss and a greater willingness and openness to address personal hearing issues as part of maintaining a long-term career in sound."

The free hearing screening appointments were fully booked within minutes of the show's opening each day. More than 400 people were screened and many had to be turned away. Thousands more stopped by the booth for free hearing health information and hearing protection recommendations. With the help of industry advocacy and support, HEI conducts an aggressive public awareness campaign called Sound Partners to help educate "the listening public" - targeting teens and young adults who enjoy loud music, electronic games and videos.

More information on NIHL, Sound Partners and other advancements in hearing health is available at

About the House Ear Institute
The House Ear Institute (HEI) is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing hearing science through research and education to improve quality of life. HEI scientists are exploring the causes of auditory disorders on the cellular and molecular level, as well as refining the application of auditory implants and hearing aids.

For more information, please call (213) 483-4431 or visit


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Related Keywords:AES, hearing damage, Audio Engineers Society, House Ear Institute, HEI, hearing screenings, Sound engineers, noise induced hearing loss, NIHL, Marilee Potthoff, Sound Partners,


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