Newsletter - June/July 2011

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The CALM Act Passes

Have you ever found yourself reaching for the remote control to turn down the television when a commercial practically causes you to jump out of your chair due to its volume? Well, you will soon find that this will no longer be necessary due to the CALM Act that was signed into law by President Obama on December 15, 2010.  Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) had introduced the "Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act" (CALM) in 2009. The bill is only a couple hundred words long; but, it directs the FCC to come up with regulations so that:

  • Advertisements accompanying such video programming shall not be excessively noisy or strident
  • Such advertisements shall not be presented at modulation levels substantially higher than the program material that such advertisements accompany.
  • Average maximum loudness of such advertisements shall not be substantially higher than the average maximum loudness of the program material that such advertisements accompany.

According to Eshoo "Most Americans are not overjoyed to watch television commercials, but they are willing to tolerate them to sustain free over-the-air television. What annoys all of us is the sudden increase of volume when commercials are aired... This legislation will reduce the volume of commercials in order to bring them to same level as the programs they accompany."

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) had recommended certain practices in regard to the volume of commercial advertisements in relationship to the ongoing television program that is being watched. Congress has passed this act into law and it will be under the watchful eye of the FCC. Large cable operators and broadcasters have until December 15, 2012 to comply with the new rules. The small cable operators have been offered the ability to seek a waiver for extension of the period to avoid financial hardship. So, in just under a year, you will be able to fall asleep with the television on and not be startled awake by a commercial!


Along with diabetes and high blood pressure, hearing loss is one of the three most common adult medical conditions. However, most adults are reluctant to seek hearing health services and, even when hearing loss is identified, they tend to put off remediation. This trend can be detrimental not only to the hearing impaired individual, but to those around him/her. Untreated and unidentified hearing loss can have a negative effect on family relationships, academic performance and career advancement.

One way to assist your loved one in obtaining information in regard to their hearing health is to sign them up for a free hearing screening. These are available to adults from time to time at Barrington Hearing Center and take very little time to complete. The Hearing Loss Association of America recommends "that adults be screened at least every decade through age 50 and at 3-year intervals thereafter."

Techniques for hearing screening include case history with heredity, noise exposure, ear disease and surgeries, and self-assessment of hearing abilities reported by the individual in the form of answers to questions. Any hearing screening should be preceded by the visual inspection of the ear.

Once the ear canals are inspected and the presence of obstructive ear wax or debris in the canal is ruled out, the pure tone hearing screening is completed. The most common form of hearing screening is the presentation of pure tone stimuli at 1000, 2000 and 4000Hz at the cut off intensity for normal hearing (25-30dBHL). If the individual does not hear all of the tones, they would be referred for a follow up complete audiological evaluation. If the pure tone screening could not be completed due to an accumulation of debris in the ear canal or the possible presence of infection and irritation of the ear canal, the individual would be referred for a medical consultation.


The American Academy of Audiology held its 23rd Annual Meeting from April 6-9th in Chicago. Dr. Hansel attended this event to increase her knowledge and awareness of the most recent trends and successes in the areas of hearing   assessment and remediation. The meeting included classes on new hearing aid circuits and options, including the communication between the hearing aids and connectivity with cell phones, land line telephones,televisions, MP3/IPods and lapel microphones. These will reduce the interference of the background noises in most situations.

Tinnitus evaluation and remediation were topics of many of the workshops. Many of the most respected and knowledgeable leaders in this specialty shared their wealth of information and practical advice with the attendees.
As with any profession's annual meetings, it was also a time to see and share with colleagues. Discussions in the hall during workshop breaks often provided valuable practical information that can improve patient care.

Dr. Hansel returned to work rejuvenated and ready to make plans to implement some of the information shared. Barrington Hearing Center will be making an announcement of an expansion in the type of services provided to the community in the near future. We are presently in the planning stage. So, continue to check back with us!


Barrington Hearing Center offers a battery program that is designed to offer savings and convenience for hearing aid users. Members of the program pre-pay $30.00 and are then entitled to six (6) packets of batteries (4 batteries per packet). When the member needs batteries, all that they need to do is call our office and request that one of the packets be mailed to them. The $30.00 fee includes the cost of postage.

The batteries are Ray-o-vac Proline mercury free batteries that are touted as the "Longest lasting batteries" by Ray-o-vac. The batteries are guaranteed. If interested in more information, please call our office at (847) 382-5700.

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