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2014 Spectrum Fall Issue
2014 Fall Issue 
 presidential pEARspective  
An Ounce of Prevention

By Kristy Casto, Ph.D., CCC-A 
NHCA President

The US Surgeon General’s National Prevention Strategy’s vision is: Working together to improve the health and quality of life for individuals, families, and communities by moving the nation from a focus on sickness and disease to one based on prevention and wellness.

As a nation, we are facing the impact of unsustainable healthcare costs and are seeing concerted efforts to shift focus from treating illness and injury to preventing illness and injury. There appears to be recognition among high-level strategic leaders that prevention tools are key enablers of wellness, and that fostering healthy environments and health education empowers people to make better health choices leading to longer, healthier lives.


 In This Issue  
Click on applicable listings below for complete article
presidential pEARspective
Letter from the Editor
Member Spotlight
Commercial Member Spotlight
2015 NHCA Annual Conference
2014 Outstanding Lecture and Poster Awards
The Interaction of Hearing Loss and Hearing Protection on Speech Recognition in Noise
Hearing Aids in Noisy Workplaces: A Good or Bad Solution?
NIOSH Announcement
Mobile Apps for Hearing Health

2014-2015 Executive Council

Task Forces/Liaisons

NHCA Scholarship Foundation Board

Editorial Staff
Richard Stepkin - Chief Editor 
Elliott Berger - Technical Editor 


Letter from the Editor  

By Richard L. Stepkin MS, CCC-A,
Enviromed Corp – Lindenwold NJ

It has been my privilege and pleasure to serve as editor of our NHCA Spectrum for the last several years. I have many things going on professionally and personally so this is a good time to step down with this last newsletter of 2014.
As editor, in addition to technical and informative articles, it has been my objective to create human interest “Spotlights” on regular and commercial members with each newsletter.

Although we are a small organization – we are a very professional community with a common bond. Each of our members has a story to tell and when it is personalized with family, experiences and points of interest, it makes us a stronger and more intimate Association.

After enlisting in the Naval Submarine Service; then College; then a Major in the Army; then the last 34 years in business - I plan to do more motorcycling around the U.S. to places I have never been and more traveling to Asia. I love driving my Mini-Cooper Convertible (a high speed mobile device).

My daughter, Trisha, will have her 1st baby (girl), my first grandchild, just before Christmas which is exciting as well.

So, I plan to work hard but play harder. I will continue to be active with NHCA – a great organization. I look forward to seeing everyone in N’Oleans. Thanks for the opportunity to serve.

Member Spotlight  

By John Barry, ScD, MSPH, RS, ROH
Industrial Hygiene Engineer (Acoustical Aspects)
US Department of Labor– OSHA - Bangor, Maine 

My 45 year career in acoustics and public health began in Bangor passed through 25 years in Philadelphia returning to my Bangorian roots so to speak in 1999.


Commercial Member Spotlight  

By David Mayou
Benson Medical Instruments – Minneapolis MN

Nearly every workday I ride my bicycle from my modest 1900-era house in south Minneapolis a few miles to the office of Benson Medical Instruments Co., which is in a 19th-century office building downtown. The new snow will cause changes to my routine. I’ll have to ride slowly and will need warmer clothes, but I’ll ride every day just the same.


2015 NHCA Annual Conference  
NHCA Approaching 40th Anniversary

By Kim Schwartz
NHCA Executive Director

The NHCA is approaching its 40th anniversary, and there is no time like the present to become more involved as a member.


NHCA Conference Mobile App Interaction

Melissa J. Wesemann3M, US Marketing Supervisor - Detection Solutions

There are several exciting new-to-2015 sponsorship benefits we are excited about and wanted to highlight.

The NHCA Custom Conference Mobile App will encourage interaction and collaboration as well as offer quick QR code lead scanning for easy post-show follow up. A Product Focus Group Session, which will be offered to “80 Decibel Level” sponsors, will allow for convenient gathering of qualitative new product research from industry experts in a private pre-arranged focus group session. These are two of many exciting benefits conference sponsors receive. NHCA’s Annual Conference provides you access to leading experts, early adopters and trendsetters in the field of hearing conservation.


2014 Outstanding Lecture & Poster Awards  

Every year attendees have an opportunity to vote on the Outstanding Lecture and Outstanding Poster awards from all those who have presented at our conference. Winners at the 39th annual NHCA conference in Las Vegas were:

Outstanding Poster Award:
Alyssa Stanard, B.A., PhD Candidate, Central Michigan University for her poster entitled, A Survey of Individuals Exposed to Wind Turbine Noise.
Outstanding Lecture Award:
Dr. Jennifer Tufts, PhD, CCC-A, Associate Professor of audiology in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at the University of Connecticut for her presentation entitled, Canal Segment Length of Custom Earplugs: Effects on Attenuation (and Comfort).
The awards consist of a check to Dr. Tufts for $250.00 and a check to Ms. Stanard for $150.00. Congratulations to both for their outstanding contributions to the NHCA conference, to their university, and…most importantly…to hearing conservation and hearing loss prevention.
Technical Articles  

The Interaction of Hearing Loss and Hearing Protection on Speech Recognition in Noise

Christian Giguère, Véronique Vaillancourt and Chantal Laroche
Audiology and Speech Language Pathology Program, University of Ottawa, Canada

Noise remains a common contaminant in many workplaces. A number of workers with a personal or occupational hearing loss must, on a daily basis, face the consequences of diminished hearing sensitivity, which can compromise one’s safety and that of others because of the attendant difficulties it creates in perceiving auditory signals, in understanding speech in noise and in identifying the location of sound sources (localization). Hearing aids can potentially be used in the workplace to maintain auditory awareness of the surroundings and allow hearing-impaired individuals to work in a safe, effective, and autonomous manner. This option however raises concerns as to the effectiveness of hearing aids in optimizing those hearing abilities required to perform various job duties and in amplifying sounds to levels deemed safe, while at the same time reducing industrial noise to limit further worsening of the hearing loss. 


Hearing Aids in Noisy Workplaces: a good or bad solution?

Laroche C1 (pictured far left), Vaillancourt V1 (pictured near left), Gendron M3, Leroux T2, Fortier P4, Paré L5, Giguère C1, Voix J6

Noise remains one of the most common problems in the workplace. In the USA, approximately 22 million workers are exposed to daily hazardous occupational noise levels (Tak et al, 2009). In a sample of over 1.1 million American workers, 18% had hearing loss, with prevalence being especially high in mining, wood product manufacturing and construction (Masterson et al, 2013). Noise-induced hearing loss is particularly prevalent in the military. In the Canadian Forces, 42% of service members showed at least a mild hearing loss and 26% developed a moderate to severe hearing loss by midlife, with some military trades such as infantry, artillery and flight engineers being the most at risk (Abel, 2005). In the USA, it was found that veterans were 30% more likely to have severe hearing loss than non-veterans after adjusting for age and current occupation (CDC, 2011). 


In the Industry  

NIOSH Announcement

By Allison Tepper, CDC/NIOSH/DSHEFS

The NIOSH Health Hazard Evaluation Program has released a database to provide researchers and other interested stakeholders with noise measurement results collected during HHE surveys from 1996–2012.

The noise database contains workplace noise measurement results from 73 HHE reports, including over 761 personal noise exposure measurements and 536 area noise measurements. For reports posted online, the database provides a direct link to the HHE report for each of the noise measurement results. This database is an ongoing project and will be updated at least yearly to add the most recent HHE noise measurement data.

We hope you find it useful, and would appreciate your feedback


Mobile Apps for Hearing Health

By Amy Boudin, Au.D.; Gayla L. Poling, Ph.D.; and COL (RET) Kathy Gates

It is critical that hearing loss prevention strategies become a daily practice, not just for those whose jobs are known to involve noise-hazardous risks. Advancing technologies and mobile applications (apps) offer easily accessible, affordable, and interactive ways to focus on hearing health.

Get Connected
Several affordable and interactive smart phone and tablet apps are currently available to bring awareness to hearing health. There are several options that not only help lead to the identification of hearing difficulties, but can help alleviate symptoms of hearing loss and tinnitus.


Voice: 303-255-9022 Fax: 303-458-0002
12011 Tejon St., Ste. 700., Westminster, CO 80234

Copyright 2014 by the National Hearing Conservation Association. All rights reserved. No part of the publication may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing of the publisher. ISSN 1083-7388. Spectrum is a publication of the National Hearing Conservation Association (NHCA), 12011 Tejon St., Suite 700, Westminster, CO 80234 which is published 3 times yearly around January, July and October. A Spectrum Supplement is provided prior to each year’s Annual NHCA Conference. The information contained herein is designed to promote action and discussion among members. The information has been obtained from sources believed reliable, and the editors have exercised reasonable care to assure its accuracy. However, the NHCA does not guarantee that the contents of this publication are correct and statements published do not necessarily reflect the opinion or official position of the NHCA.  Spectrum is available without charge to NHCA members in all categories. Anyone interested in publishing in Spectrum should contact Kimberely Schwartz at the NHCA office. 

National Hearing Conservation Association
12011 Tejon Street, Suite 700
Westminster, CO 80234
Phone: 303-224-9022
Fax: 303-458-0002