In a world where 80 – 120dB is the average level of noise one might hear in a place like New York City, it seems that slow and gradual damage to one’s hearing is the barter for big city life. NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, explains that “repeated exposures to loud noise can lead to permanent, incurable hearing loss or tinnitus.” According to NIOSH, 85dB is the maximum level of noise one can be exposed to without suffering hearing loss after an 8-hour period. Bearing these reports in mind, all noises, even ones of trivial value such as vacuuming, exceed the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s daily recommendation for exposure to noise levels. The notion of this inevitable susceptibility is causing a rapid increasing in the hard of hearing population in America- since threats to your hearing can come from virtually anywhere, even at the workplace. According to the National Health Interview Survey, “Nationally, it is estimated that 30 million individuals are exposed to excessive levels of noise at work.” The extent to which hearing loss is a problem for our generation is largely neglected and the preventative measures seem to be few and poorly ministered.
For those who are inevitably immersed in city life, however, the notion of hearing loss can be a daunting one. Professionals, parents, grandparents, and everyday metropolites cannot avoid the noises that surround them. However, if they are looking for a technology that’s both user friendly, and a facilitator of communication, their search has come to an end. Phone Caption, also referred to as Free Captioning, is a completely free, federally funded service that allows all individuals to place calls, and subsequently receive what the other party is saying in captions. This is conducive to all sorts of lifestyles, as Phone Caption supports PDA devices, computers ( both PC’s and Mac’s), Blackberry mobile phones, as well as Cisco phones. So, whether you want to place a call and receive voiced over captioning onto your phone or computer, be certain to sign up for this completely free service. You will automatically be assigned a free 800 number at which point you could distribute to family, friends, doctors, colleagues, ect. The sign up is easy, the service is free, and the intent is to help you hear captions loud and clear.