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Say What? ‘Generation Deaf’ Gets a Warning from Doctors

MDHearingAid’s founder, Dr. Sreek Cherukuri was one of the experts consulted for a feature at NBC News about young people and hearing damage.

Read more about the potential hazards that may result from improper use of ear buds in:

Generation Deaf: Doctors Warn of Dangers of Ear Buds

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Evan and Deb on WHNZ interview Dr Sreek Cherukuri About Hearing

Intro: Growing your wealth, keeping your health, making life richer day by day. Evan and Deb in the evenings on 1250 WHNZ, W-H-N-Z. Now, Evan and Deb.

Evan Gold: All right, Howard Rosenthal’s up in a little while. This is Evan Gold and we’re going to be talking about the Mr. Food Test Kitchen guilt-free weeknight favorites, and also hearing. When should you get your hearing test and what should you do about it if you have problems? You’re listen to Evan and Deb in the evenings right now. All right we’ve got Dr. Cherukuri with us right now. He’s an otolaryngologist and we’re going to talk about hearing. Dr. Cherukuri, welcome to Evan and Deb.

Dr. Cherukuri: Hello. Thank you for having me and good evening.

Evan Gold: Our pleasure. Now hearing, it’s something as interesting I’ve heard this it’s also about eyesight, is that you guys just haven’t been as successful getting people to get their hearing or eyes checked as dentists are. Dentists convince a lot of people you got to go see your dentist twice a year, but it’s hard to get people to go check their hearing, isn’t it? [Read more…]

Hearing Loss in the Military

Hearing Loss in the Military

When asked to consider the injuries that military veterans most commonly suffer from, most people would be quick to name brain damage, lost limbs, burns, or post-traumatic stress disorder as the most frequent injuries. However, they would be wrong; in fact, the most-widespread injury for returning veterans is hearing loss.

Hearing loss, which is caused by permanent damage to the hair cells within the inner ear, comes as a result of exposure to sounds 140 decibels and higher. These loud noises can also cause tinnitus, a type of hearing damage in which someone experiences a persistent ringing sound in their ears.

Surprisingly, hearing loss and tinnitus are currently the top two most compensated disabilities in the Veterans Benefits Association, and as of 2014, more than 400,000 veterans of U.S. campaigns in Afghanistan and/or Iraq report experiencing hearing loss, tinnitus, or both.

These incidents of hearing loss are rising at a rate of 13-18% per year, and with that increase, the VA is spending more and more money on major auditory disabilities. In 2010, the VA spent around $1.39 billion in disability payments for major auditory disabilities, and at the current rate of increase, the VA predicts that hearing-related payouts will reach more than $2 billion by 2016. Among the different branches of the military, Army veterans report the highest rate of hearing loss, with 50% of Army veterans reporting some hearing loss by the age of fifty, followed by Air Force veterans (42%) and Navy veterans (37%). To put that into perspective, only a few professions rank higher than the military for hearing loss, including construction and mining at 60% each.

Few people realize that the history of hearing loss in the military can be traced to the early 1940s. During this era, the U.S. Army concluded that military members who were regularly exposed to government should be provided with protective earplugs as part of their standard kit; however, their use was not required, and in fact, wearing protective ear coverings and ear plugs was seen as a sign of weakness.

In the 1960s, the army devoted more time and resources to studying hearing damage in the military. Their research found that 50-60% of situational awareness is based on a person’s hearing. Their findings were particularly useful for the military because they discovered that with good hearing, it takes a soldier approximately 40 seconds to identify a target, while a soldier with bad hearing will take approximately 90 seconds.

Of the specific causes of hearing damage in the military, roughly seven out of ten cases of hearing loss and/or tinnitus are caused by blasts, while roadside bombs result in half of the veterans involved getting some form of hearing damage. While relatively quiet military equipment exists (such as an Abrams tank or a Kiowa helicopter), the vast majority of military equipment is equal to commonly loud noises we hear in everyday life. For example, a rock concert typically measures 130 decibels, and an M9 handgun measures 157 decibels. An m3 recoilless rifle, meanwhile, can measure as much as 190 decibels.

However, it isn’t just military arms that cause hearing damage; in fact, sustained exposure to loud noises can cause hearing damage as well. For example, a 2.5 ton truck idling at 85 decibels is loud enough to cause permanent damage after only an eight hour work day. Also, military vehicles tend to be much louder than civilian vehicles, meaning that the risk of hearing loss is far more extensive to those who are constantly around these vehicles than to military members just in combat operations.

Since 2010, the Department of Veteran Affairs has required a hearing examination for veterans based on their Military Occupational Specialty. The hearing aid experts at MD Hearing Aid recommend that veterans schedule an appointment with an audiologist to determine if they have hearing loss caused by their military service. Since damage to your ear’s hair cells can’t be undone, it’s also recommended that veterans take preventative measures during their civilian activities, such as using ear plugs while mowing the lawn.

At this time, nothing can be done to replace hair cells in humans. Damaged hair cells must be compensated for with the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants. While it might be tempting to do nothing about your hearing loss, hearing loss can lead to social isolation and limited career opportunities for veterans struggling to reintegrate into society. Schedule a hearing appointment with an audiologist today to learn if you’re suffering from hearing loss related to your time in the military.

Link to this infographic:

Fox TV: Tips To Prevent Future Hearing Loss

Jason Carr: We just learned something about headphones during the break, and now we’re going to educate you. We’d like to block the world out sometimes, a lot of the young people do that, but we could be causing hearing loss. Joining us this morning is Dr. Skreekant Cherukuri, and he is going to elucidate on the dangers of playing your music too loud. When you and I were younger, we had discmans, and walkmans, and what I remember about those is that they has the foam outer head phones. Those have changed.

Dr. Cherukuri: That’s right. Back in the day, the batteries didn’t last too long. They had to run the motor for the cassette or the CD, and they didn’t get that loud. But nowadays, with advances in technology, iPods, and other MP3 players, they can go all day. They can get up to 115 decibels, which is almost as loud as a rock concert, and some of the ear buds sit in your ear canal, much closer to the ear drum, which can get 7-9 decibels louder.

Jason Carr: We’re looking at a graphic right now. Thirty percent higher than it was in the 1980’s and 90’s. Some experts attribute this to increased use of headphones with teenagers. There’s some more interesting graphical information.

You and I both, it turns out, spent time DJ’ing in night clubs. In the DJ booth, you cue a record, I used to play records, by holding it up to your ear with your shoulder, and it had to be louder than the music in the club, so …

Dr. Cherukuri: That’s exactly right.

Jason Carr: …We both have permanent hearing loss in one of our ears.

Dr. Cherukuri: Yes, and it’s the left ear, in my case.

Jason Carr: Yeah, mine too.

Dr. Cherukuri: That’s a common DJ ear if you are right handed.

Jason Carr: If you’re used to doing that. It wasn’t that long. It was just a few years.

Dr. Cherukuri: Myself as well. The challenges you mentioned is the sound of the headphone has to be louder than the ambient sound. That also applies to people commuting on a train, for example, or even just ambient city noise. For example, a kid mowing the lawn, the lawn mower is at 95 decibels, if he’s playing headphones, he’s got to be much higher than that. At 115 decibels, which is the maximum output, you can get permanent damage in as little as 8-15 minutes.

Jason Carr: Eight to 15 minutes, and permanent hearing loss for life?

Dr. Cherukuri: Yeah, it’s gradual, but yes, it’s permanent.

Jason Carr: Is it true that human hearing peaks at, what is it, 9 years-old? Then it starts dropping off after that?

Dr. Cherukuri: That’s correct.

Jason Carr: Why is that?

Dr. Cherukuri: I’m not sure why the etiology. It could be accumulation of noise, but yes, children and babies can hear a much higher frequency than even teenagers or adults.

Jason Carr: Wow, it’s crazy. You see the commercial here, basically extolling the virtues of spending your entire life connected, wired up, canceling the world out. How do you combat this.

Dr. Cherukuri: All right, so a couple of things. We talk about the 60/60 rule, which is play it at 60 percent of maximum volume for 60 minutes, and then take a break. Ears that get a rest, are less likely to get damaged. Two, is on our website,, we offer both headphones that are safe for children and teens, regardless of the MP3 player, they won’t go above 85 decibels, which is the safe level.

Jason Carr: Really, that’s one way of doing it.

Dr. Cherukuri: We also have ear plugs, high fidelity ear plugs. If you go to a concert, there’s a study that showed that almost 70 percent of teens leaving a concert had temporary threshold shift, which is a precursor to permanent hearing loss.

Jason Carr: Now, we’re looking at this model right here. There’s a lot going on.

Dr. Cherukuri: The main thing is, the in the ear headphones, in the canal, sit closer to the ear drum and can get much louder. I recommend over the ear earphones, especially if they are noise canceling, so they reduce ambient environmental noise and you don’t have to turn it up louder.

Jason Carr: It cancels the noise, so you are more able to hear what you’re trying to listen to without having to jack it way up.

Dr. Cherukuri: That’s exactly right.

Jason Carr: All right, what’s the website again?

Dr. Cherukuri:

Jason Carr: if you want to purchase headphones that will keep your kids hearing intact and safe. I have a 4 year-old who is already making noise about, pun intended I guess, about having her own phone, and her own iPod and whatnot, so I want to protect her hearing. Good advice.

Dr. Cherukuri: Yeah.

Jason Carr: Dr. Skreekant Cherukuri, thank you for being here this morning.

Dr. Cherukuri: Thank you for having us.

Fox News Dr. Manny Ask Dr. Sreek Cherukuri About Hearing Loss

…If you’re a music lover you know turning up some tunes can put you in a better mood. Signs shows it can also help with stress, reduce pain, and improve your overall health. But, could listening to your favorite jingle do more harm than good? We got this email from a viewer:

Jenny: Dear Dr. Manny,
I’m constantly reading how kids are damaging their hearing from listening to music too loud. My son is always listening to music on his headphones on an ear-splitting level, could this really cause hearing loss?

Dr. Manny: Well Jenny, I love music as much as anyone but, when it comes to your hearing, your son should keep it in a safe sound level. In fact the World Health Organization estimates 50% of young adults are exposed to potentially unsafe levels from their personal audio devices. But for more on how to prevent future damage we checked in with an expert.

Dr. Cherukuri: The Maximum output of an MP3 player such as an iPod can get up to 115 decibels, which can cause permanent hearing damage in as little as 8 to 15 minutes. Two ways to reduce the risk: Stay away from in the ear headphones, which sit much closer to the ear drum and can get much louder, and use the 60/60 rule. No more than 60% of maximum volume for 60 minutes at a time and then take a break. Ears that get a rest are less likely to get damaged.

Dr. Manny: Thanks, Doc. Do you have a health question? Email them at drmanny at Until Next time, I’m Dr. Manny.

Fox 32: Headphone Hearing Loss Now 30% Higher

Corey McPherrin: …Because they play the music just too loud, rates of hearing loss about 30% higher than it was in the ’80s and ’90s, and joining us right now is Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri to talk about why 1 in 6 teenagers at least will suffer some sort of hearing loss, and, Doctor, thanks for coming in.

Dr. Cherukuri: Thanks for having me.

Corey McPherrin: We appreciate it. I’m really curious to discover, or curious about this because I didn’t think … We listened to music really loudly back in the day but it’s much more of an issue today. Why is that?

Dr. Cherukuri: Back in the day when you listened to music loudly it was probably at a concert.

Corey McPherrin: Right, or with big speakers in your dorm room or your apartment or something like that.

Dr. Cherukuri: Big speakers.

Corey McPherrin: But not in your ear, right? Is that the difference?

Dr. Cherukuri: Right. The other thing is in the ’80s and ’90s the Walkmans and the headphones were over the ear and on this diagram for example, the receiver was here far away from the eardrum. Now the ear buds go in the ear canal much closer to the eardrum. They get much louder. The battery life of the iPhones and the iPods are much better and the decibel level they can get, the loudness, is up to 115 decibels at maximum volume, which can be hearing loss in as little as 6 to 15 minutes.

Corey McPherrin: Wow. What is your experience in terms of dealing with folks who are having issues? Do you see a lot of it or what are you seeing out there right now?

Dr. Cherukuri: We don’t see a lot of it in the clinic because it’s light or mild hearing loss but the studies have shown that compared to even 1 decade ago it’s 1 in 5 teenagers has a hearing loss.

Corey McPherrin: 1 in 5.

Dr. Cherukuri: It used to be 1 in 7 …

Corey McPherrin: Okay.

Dr. Cherukuri: … so we are seeing a significant increase in the number.

Corey McPherrin: What do you want tell, especially parents out there and they’ve got kids who listen to all kinds of music with the earpieces in? What do you want to tell them?

Dr. Cherukuri: The main thing, we call it the 60/60 rule.

Corey McPherrin: Okay.

Dr. Cherukuri: 60% of maximum volume for 60 minutes and then take a break, let your ears get a rest, and you won’t damage your hearing.

Corey McPherrin: Really?

Dr. Cherukuri: If it’s at maximum volume, if someone outside away from the headphone can hear it, there’s really a risk of permanent nerve-related hearing loss.

Corey McPherrin: Is that one test, if you can hear your kids’ music coming out of their ears over then you know it’s too loud? Is that the deal?

Dr. Cherukuri: That’s a very good rule of thumb, yes.

Corey McPherrin: It’s a good way to look at it. Right. Wow. What sort of treatments are there right now for folks who suffer from … There really isn’t much you can do, right?

Dr. Cherukuri: It’s permanent hearing loss and so traditionally as they get older and into the 30s, 40s, 50s, they might notice hearing loss at work or in the home. Traditionally the only treatment is a hearing aid. Hearing aids we traditionally think of as big bulky things behind the ear.

Corey McPherrin: Sure.

Dr. Cherukuri: Here at MD Hearing Aid, which is a company I started, we have developed much more cost-effective and high-tech hearing aids.

Corey McPherrin: Okay. That’s good to know. Then one more thing I want to ask you too, I suppose sometimes people have a hard time discerning how much hearing loss they’ve suffered so are there certain giveaways, or how do you know for sure aside from going in and having it tested?

Dr. Cherukuri: Really it’s the family members or the colleagues that will be able to tell first.

Corey McPherrin: Yeah.

Dr. Cherukuri: It’s subtle. You might notice lip reading or people asking, “What did you say?”

Corey McPherrin: Over and over and again, right.

Dr. Cherukuri: Over and over again so really we would always empower the family members. If someone’s asking to repeat a lot of the TV’s too loud, get them in to a doctor, get a hearing test.

Corey McPherrin: Right.

Dr. Cherukuri: The sooner you treat the better the result, that’s for sure.

Corey McPherrin: Okay. If people want more information about hearing loss and the kind of projects you’re working on, where do they find more information?

Dr. Cherukuri: The can go to for a lot of real good information about hearing loss.

Corey McPherrin: Doctor, thanks for coming in.

Dr. Cherukuri: Thanks for having me.

Corey McPherrin: Appreciate it, good information. All right, we’re going to take a quick …

Chicagoland TV Asks Dr Cherukuri About Today’s Hearing Issues

Monica Schneider: To think about if you haven’t already, headphones causing hearing loss? Well, new numbers suggest that teenagers today are at a truly great risk. Dr. Sreek Cherukuri is joining us here on set to discuss this. Headphones, how big of a problem are we talking about?

Dr. Cherukuri: Compared to just a few, a decade or two ago, there’s a 30% increase in hearing loss in kids under the age of 20.

Monica Schneider: What kind of headphones are we talking about, the full blast or earbuds?

Dr. Cherukuri: What happened is, back in my teenage days, the Walkman used to have an over the ear foam headphone and didn’t get that loud and play that long, so the batteries died. Now the MP3 players, the iPods, that they can get up to 115 decibels and go for hours on end. At that volume, in as little as 15 minutes you can cause permanent noise-related hearing loss.

Monica Schneider: You have some information in terms of statistical and we have a graphic with some of those numbers. Now, 1 in 6 teens is showing symptoms.

Dr. Cherukuri: 1 in 6 teens has some slight or mild level of hearing loss.

Monica Schneider: Also, some of these other numbers that you’ve supplied us with. That’s a lot of teens that are using headphones, 81%?

Dr. Cherukuri: Yeah, oh yeah. I mean, most kids now, it’s very common in the media to see the athletes and celebrities wearing the headphones.

cltv-behind-scenesMonica Schneider: And it’s going up.

Dr. Cherukuri: The rates of not only headphone use but the hearing loss, are going up.

Monica Schneider: You brought this model along of sort of the ear canal and whatever, so explain what’s happening. We’re basically bombarding the inside of our heads with too much noise?

Dr. Cherukuri: It’s exactly right. Here’s the ear, kind of a blown-up model. When we wear an in the ear earbud, the actual receiver is sitting closer to the eardrum and it can get much louder than an over the ear headphone. Again, using it for too long at too loud can cause permanent noise-related hearing loss at the nerve level. Nose-related hearing loss is the only preventable type of hearing loss that we know of. What we call it is the 60/60 rule. Wear it at 60% maximum volume for 60 minutes or less, and then take a break, because if your ears get a break from the noise, it’s less likely to cause any damage.

Monica Schneider: Really? If you’re doing this for an hour or less with your favorite earbuds no matter what you’re using, or your headphones, there’s a chance that you’re going to save yourself by just taking a break?

Dr. Cherukuri: Absolutely, but it has to be 60% of the maximum volume. It shouldn’t be at the-

Monica Schneider: Max full volume.

Dr. Cherukuri: Max full volume.

Monica Schneider: Okay, max full volume, of course-

Dr. Cherukuri: Again, full volume as little as 15 minutes can cause permanent damage.

Monica Schneider: It’s preventable if you do the right thing, but once it happens and the hearing loss is there, then what?

Dr. Cherukuri: That’s the problem. What you may notice in your 30’s to 40’s is you’re having trouble hearing colleagues at work, or the spouse, or the family members. You know, we used to think of hearing loss as an elderly problem. Actually, as of today’s statistics, the majority of people with hearing loss are under the age of 65.

Monica Schneider: No way.

Dr. Cherukuri: Many of them are still in the workplace and interacting at a very high level.

Monica Schneider: When you think your colleagues are ignoring you or don’t like you, it could be just that they didn’t hear you.

Dr. Cherukuri: It could be they didn’t hear you.

Monica Schneider: Hearing aids, you know nobody wants to think about wearing those either. They can be expensive. You have some other ideas in that regard?

Dr. Cherukuri: Yeah, so typically hearing aids cost up to $5,000 each and Medicare and most insurance companies don’t cover them. When we think hearing aid, we think big, bulky product that’s a little bit not appealing visually.

Monica Schneider: Some options, hearing aid-wise?

Dr. Cherukuri: Yeah. We have some new technology. My company is called MDHearingAid and we provide medical grade, FDA registered hearing aids at up to 90% less cost. Our newest one is called-

Monica Schneider: How can you do that?

Dr. Cherukuri: Well, we manufacture our own and we just put the most necessary features and leave out some of the expensive features…

Monica Schneider: They still work, huh?

Dr. Cherukuri: They work great. I mean, we have a very high…

Monica Schneider: You brought an example along which really, it’s kind of in there and you don’t really see it.

fitDr. Cherukuri: Yes, so our latest model is call the MDHearingAid FIT. It’s designed like an in-ear music monitor or a custom hearing aid. It’s more of the wearable or hearable form factor, which is kind of the buzzword lately. You just slip it in your ear and within a minute you’re hearing better. It looks unlike any other hearing aid on the market.

Monica Schneider: Does it get rid of that thing that hearing aid users complain about sometimes? That they’re not hearing things, they’re hearing extraneous noise and it just gets confusing, so they pull them out?

Dr. Cherukuri: Yeah, so there’s a lot of background noise, or whistling, and things like that. This MDHearingAid FIT has the highest level, most advanced technology, with regards to those things.

Monica Schneider: Not that I want to be doing a commercial for you, but this thing sounds pretty cool.

Dr. Cherukuri: You know what? I have hearing loss from being a DJ, in my left ear.

Monica Schneider: Really, a doctor and a DJ? Okay.

Dr. Cherukuri: It is starting to impact me, and so when I need a hearing aid, MDHearingAid FIT, without a doubt.

Monica Schneider: Well, Dr. Cherukuri, thank you so much for coming out today. Some important information. It’s like pull back on the headphones.

Dr. Cherukuri: Absolutely.

Monica Schneider: Doctor, thank you.

Dr. Cherukuri: Thank you for your time.

Monica Schneider: We’re going to take a break, take a look at weather, and be back with more news.

Art Norman of NBC Interviews Dr. Cherukuri on Hearing Loss

Art Norman: Good morning. Going to tell you about some brand new cutting edge technology to help your hearing. You’ve got a young person wearing headphones all day long. They could be hurting themselves. Our special guest is Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri, ear, nose and throat specialist. You know all about hearing.

[Read more…]

Why Your Headphones Are Too Loud


Link to this infographic:

Ever since the Walkman burst onto the scene, it seems as though teenagers have been listening to their music too loudly. Currently, 81% of teenagers listen to music with earphones, whether they’re listening to the latest Taylor Swift or more classic tunes from The Beatles. Teens tend to listen to their music at a high volume, which makes it easier to miss the warning signs linking headphone use to hearing loss.

Today, the rate of hearing loss among teenagers is about 30% higher than it was in the 1980s and 1990s. Some experts attribute this to teens’ increased use of headphones. However, teens aren’t buying it — studies show that only 8% of adolescents believe that hearing loss is a major health concern, yet 1 in 6 teens report that they experience hearing loss symptoms often or all of the time. Among all Americans, approximately 26 million Americans between the ages of 20 and 69 have noise induced hearing loss — the same number of people who use the Great Lakes for drinking water! Hearing loss is also consistently one of the most commonly reported injuries among U.S. Veterans, thanks to intense exposure to explosions and gunfire.

In hearing, sound travels into the ear and vibrates through various passageways, eventually rippling across the inner ear’s hair cells, sending electrical impulses which the brain recognizes as sound. Hearing loss from excessive noise is largely related to these hair cells in the inner ear. Long term exposure to sounds over 85 decibels can cause hearing loss, and noise-induced hearing loss can also be caused by a one-time exposure to an intensely loud noise.

Dr. Sreekant Cherukuri, a board-certified otolaryngologist based in Chicago, notes that teens need to realize that we only have a set number of inner ear hair cells. “They do not grow back. Listening to loud music right now may not seem like a big deal but hair cells are still dying. As teens get older, they may experience accelerated hearing loss in middle age caused by activities when they were teenagers.”

Not sure what 85 decibels sounds like? It’s the volume of heavy city traffic. A motorcycle engine clocks in at 95 decibels, and a police car, ambulance, or fire siren is around 120 decibels. Fireworks, meanwhile, are about 150 decibels. But an MP3 player turned up to maximum volume? That’s 115 decibels — barely softer than a siren.

When listened to at maximum volume, MP3 players and other digital music devices make as much noise as a live rock concert. However, while 89% of headphone users turn up the volume to combat ambient noise on the street, Dr. Cherukuri advises that listeners keep it at a volume where they can hear someone speak at a conversational level from three feet away; if you can’t do that, the music is too loud. And adjust your volume quickly; studies have shown that at very high volumes, hearing loss can occur after just eight minutes of listening!

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind? The 60/60 Rule — listen for no more than 60 minutes a day at no more than 60% volume, and take a break.

If you use earbud headphones, keep in mind that they have the potential to cause more damage to hearing than traditional over-the-ear headphones. This is because they’re worn directly in the ear canal and can produce 7-9 decibels higher sound. Earbuds also filter less ambient noise, contributing to the tendency to turn volume up in situations where you may already be at high-risk for hearing loss.

Dr. Cherukuri personally prefers over-the-ear headphones for his listening pleasure, so that the sound pressure level in the ear isn’t increased as quickly as in-the-ear headphones. He also advocates the use of one of the many available apps that prevent the volume from exceeding a preset decibel level to protect your ears.

So the next time you’ve got your headphones in, and you’re jamming out to your secret guilty pleasure song, double-check your decibel levels to make sure you’re able to hear that song clearly for the rest of your life!