Let the Beat Drop – Literally

A+Graduate+student+demonstrates+the+setup+for+the+hearing+screening+process.+Bibi+Patel+%7C+Contributing+Photographer

A Graduate student demonstrates the setup for the hearing screening process. Bibi Patel | Contributing Photographer

Bibi Patel , Contributing Writer

Editor’s Note: The University Press received an email on March 9, 2021, informing us that the link to information from Hearing Loss Association of America is no longer available. To learn more about hearing loss, visit Sixty and Me.

Hearing loss is the third most common physical condition, coming behind arthritis and heart disease, according to Hearing Loss Association of America.

The American Academy of Audiology designated October as National Audiology Awareness Month.

To honor this month,Florida Atlantic’s Communication Disorders Clinic will be hosting two free hearing screening days for FAU students and the surrounding community, on Oct. 27 and 28 from 9 a.m-12 p.m.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported, “Some 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy environment venues.”

This noise-induced hearing loss is 100 percent preventable, according to the “Turn it to the Left!” campaign started by the American Board of Audiology, whose goal is to raise awareness about the dangers of high-level sound exposure.

To increase awareness, musician Ben Jackson performs his rap single, “Turn it to the Left,” for the campaign. One of his performances can be viewed here.  

“Just listening to loud music—yes it may generate a temporary pleasure, but in [the] long run is basically destroying the hearing hair cells and the neuron fibers that go from the inner ear toward the brain,” Dr. Ali Danesh, Director of the Audiology Clinic, said.

These hair cells are responsible for carrying sound from the inner ear to the brain.

During the two days in October, no appointment is necessary, and the screening is free for everyone in the community.

The screenings are done at the Audiology Clinic, which is located on the fourth floor of the College of Education building in room 455.

The process involves first checking the ear canal for impacted ear wax. Ear wax is considered impacted when it is found deep in the ear canal, and can impact hearing.

The actual screening itself takes less than five minutes. The patient wears a set of headphones; they have to listen faint and loud beeps, raising their hands when they hear a beep.

Through the use of different frequencies and intensities of the sound, the testers determine whether the patient “passes” or “does not pass” the hearing test.

Not passing the test may indicate hearing loss in one or both ears, and requires further evaluation.

The tests are conducted by graduate students in the FAU Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. These students are supervised by American Board of Audiology certified audiologists, like Danesh.

He said prevention is important when it comes to hearing loss, and stressed how easy the process is.

“Prevention is not that difficult–it’s like how people wear sunglasses when they are going to a place that they know they are going to have lot of exposure. Same concept applies for hearing and using earplugs when they are going to a  noisy environment.”

He specifically mentioned lowering earphone volume as a method of prevention. “If you’re using earphones, if the other people next to you can hear your music, it means that the intensity is too much.”

He also added that prevention is essential, because once damage to the ears occurs, it is irreversible at the present time.

Research is currently being done on the replacement and regeneration of hair cells in the inner ear, but it’s just research at this time.

When asked why students should be concerned with their hearing and go to the screening, Danesh replied:

“Hearing is the sense that connects us to the world, it connects us to the people; it’s very important to make sure that students have the ability to hear their professors, their peers. And it’s shown that those with hearing problems they may have some difficulty academically.”