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Hearing management

Updated 06 December 2017

Hi-tech harnessed against vuvus

Soccer journalists may soon be using a hi-tech device to block out the drone of vuvuzelas at soccer stadiums.

Soccer journalists may soon be using a hi-tech device to block out the drone of vuvuzelas at soccer stadiums.

A hearing-aid company is testing whether technology used by helicopter pilots could help soccer journalists focus on their work even in a stadium full of ear-shattering vuvuzelas.

Hearing-aid manufacturer Phonak said it had customised a state-of-the-art protection system to filter out the "endless drone" of the vuvuzela.

The system, which dampened sound electronically, was typically used by helicopter pilots, fire-fighters and industrial staff.

Several of the prototypes had been sent to South Africa to be tested by journalists.

The aim was to enable them to focus on their work, stay connected to the atmosphere in the stadium and talk freely to other people, while being protected from dangerously loud noise levels.

Risk of permanent hearing loss

Phonak said continuous exposure at just 85 decibels put people at risk of permanent hearing loss.

The combined noise of crowd and vuvuzelas at big games almost constantly exceeded 130 decibels.

Its system used digital filters to electronically dampen sound within the range emitted by the vuvuzela, the moment it occurred.

It would not alter other sounds - such as a colleague talking. "If this prototype proves successful, and vuvuzelas take off in stadiums around the world, mass production might be an option going forward," Phonak said. - (Sapa, June 2010)

 

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Hearing Expert

Minette Lister graduated with a Bachelor of Communication Pathology (Audiology) from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Westville in 2015. Thereafter, she completed her compulsory year of community service at Phoenix Assessment and Therapy Centre in Durban. In 2017, Minette started working for Thompson and Hoffman Audiology Inc. She is passionate about working with children and adults to diagnose and manage hearing loss using state of the art technology. Minette offers hearing screening programmes for newborn and high-risk babies, as well as school-aged children, in order to decrease the incidence of late or unidentified hearing loss.

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