A close friend of mine lost most of his hearing last Christmas. The
ear specialist suspects that a virus attacked the auditory nerves. No
matter what the cause, the diagnosis is:
Left ear - essentially all hearing gone
- auditory recruitment
Right ear - about 30% hearing but with hyperacusis
- sounds above 50 dB cause severe pain
Additional symptoms: tinitus
The person is a heavy duty mechanic working in the provincial
government highways garage. He specializes in electrical work
(in a relatively quiet electrical shop area) but part of the
time he must work on the general shop floor. He wears ear plugs
and the best available ear protection muffs. This reduces the
sound to a tolerable level. But, he can't hear someone who talks
to him - he has to lift his right ear muff to hear them. If while
his earflap is up someone in the shop happens to hammer or grind
something or make some other loud noise, the pain is unbearable.
After he lost his hearing he was off work until recently. He used
up all his sick leave, vacation time, and unemployment insurance
while waiting to see appropriate specialists. His disability claim
has been denied and he has to go back to work or lose his house.
The latest newsletter from the "Hyperacusis Network" (Green Bay, WI)
indicates that two companies will be introducing "anti-noise" ear
protectors later this year. The two companies are:
Noise Cancellation Technologies, "Noisebusters"
Stanford, CT (203) 961-0500
Active Noise and Vibration Technology,
According to the newsletter, these ear protectors "cancel" noise
in the 500 - 1500 Hz range by generating a 180 degree out-of-phase
sound wave. The claim is a 10 dB reduction of noise in this
frequency range which produces a "50% reduction in perceived noise".
1. Is one of these anti-noise ear protectors something that
will benefit him?
2. Any feedback on the effectiveness of such devices in a
situation like this?
3. Any information about the relative effectiveness of units
made by these two companies?
4. Any information on release dates and availability?
5. Any other suggestions that might be helpful?
Thanks in advance.
Gerald G. Neufeld, Faculty of Education, neufeld at brandonu.ca
Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada (204) 727-3275