Posts tagged with "hearing"

Image of Telescope via Gabrielle Archulleta for Use by 360 Magazine

Noisy Toys List Released

The American Academy of Audiology is warning parents about the dangers of noisy toys as the Sight & Hearing Association releases its annual Noisy Toys List for 2021. The American Academy of Audiology is a national association representing audiologists across the U.S. The Sight & Hearing Association is based in St. Paul, Minnesota with a goal to work towards the prevention of vision and hearing loss. Both organizations are urging parents to be cautious this holiday season when selecting toys. Recognizing that tiny ears are particularly susceptible to hearing damage, it is important to check noise levels before purchase.

“Many parents don’t realize the permanent damage a simple toy can inflict on a child’s hearing,” said Sarah Sydlowski, Au.D., Ph.D., MBA, president of the American Academy of Audiology; and associate chief improvement officer and audiology director of the Hearing Implant Program at Cleveland Clinic. “When we fail to protect a child’s hearing, the result can be irreversible hearing loss.” The inner ear contains delicate hair cells which do not regrow. Once these are damaged by noise, the result can be permanent hearing loss.

The Sight & Hearing Association has produced an annual list of noisy toys prior to the holidays for the past 24 years. Since 1939, SHA has been identifying and preventing vision and hearing loss, in partnership with other professional and community organizations, by providing screenings, education and research. “During the holiday season, we look for the most popular sound-producing toys on the market and, with a sound level meter, we measure the decibel level to raise awareness regarding how dangerously loud and potentially damaging toys can be to children. Toys are tested based on how a child would play with them, first at arm’s length (10 inches) and then next to the ear, which is how a child often listens to a noisy toy,” explained Kathy Webb, executive director of SHA.

“It’s very important that parents pay attention to this list as well as any toy they purchase. Hearing damage can be from a one-time exposure or multiple exposures over time,” explained Sydlowski. “The louder a sound is, the shorter the amount of time you can safely be around it. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends sounds at 85 dB can be safe for up to eight hours. But for every 3 dB louder the sound is, the safe listening time reduces by half. Anyone buying toys for children needs to be aware of loud noises, particularly toys that have loud bursts—cap guns, popping balloons, air horns, etc. which are loud enough to damage hearing permanently with one short exposure.” 

A study released in January 2017 by researchers with the University of Alberta in Canada, determined the noise levels of popping balloons. They studied popping them with a pin, blowing them up until they ruptured and crushing them until they burst. The ruptured balloons clocked in at 168 decibels, four decibels louder than a 12-gauge shotgun.

Sydlowski advises parents to use phone apps to test the sound levels of toys before buying them. “Toys that make noise at or above 85 dBA can contribute to noise-induced hearing loss. If they come in at 85 decibels or higher when holding your phone microphone near them, like your child would hold the toy near their own ear, don’t buy them. It isn’t worth the risk. Remember, the louder the sound, the faster the damage and damage continues with exposure.”

While hearing loss numbers are rising in adults in the U.S., the total number of children with some type of hearing loss is unknown and many cases go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

“A child with just minimal hearing loss can be missing 50 percent of classroom discussion,” Sydlowski explained. These children will need to use extra effort in order to hear what is being said and they often become distracted and exhausted by the end of the day. These characteristics can be mistaken for learning disabilities when what the child needs is management of the hearing loss, typically in the form of hearing aids and other assistive listening devices. 

Reduced hearing can lead to behavioral issues, lack of focus, even depression in children. Children with hearing loss often don’t recognize that they can’t hear and parents don’t always know the signs.

Sydlowski cautioned, “Loud toys aren’t just annoying to parents, they can be a danger to children. Parents should exercise caution when buying toys with sound, including video games. With toys and games where you can turn the sound down, set the sound at an acceptable, non-harmful level and teach children to keep them at that level. Also, be vigilant about any signs that may indicate your child is having difficulty with their hearing. If you have any concerns about your child’s hearing, have a comprehensive hearing test with an audiologist.”

The American Academy of Audiology provides a list of licensed audiologists on its website. Click on “Find an Audiologist.”

Flag illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Legalizing Immigrant Essential Workers

ROUNDUP: Senate Subcommittee Hearing Energizes Advocates for Legalizing Immigrant Essential Workers This Year

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety held a hearing, chaired by Sen. Alex Padilla titled “The Essential Role of Immigrant Workers in America.” In response to this unofficial kick off of the next stage of the immigration debate, immigration advocacy organizations released statements highlighting the important roles immigrants play in our economy as essential workers and especially during national challenges, like the unprecedented pandemic. The hearing underscored why providing them a pathway to citizenship would not only be the right thing to do for them and their families, but also our country.

Read key excerpts from the statements below:

We Are Home Campaign:

This is our opening salvo in a renewed push to make legalization and citizenship a reality for essential workers in the next 100 days — including DACA, TPS, and Farmworkers. They are the backbone of key sectors in our economy and valuable contributors to our nation. With the support of the majority of the American public, and the collective power of our movement, we will work with Democrats to ensure that we legalize as many people as possible after decades of inaction. 

We are grateful for the leadership of Senator Padilla, Senator Menendez, Sen. Schumer, Speaker Pelosi and other Democrats who are working to advance this goal. Unlike what the Republicans may lead you to believe, the moment is now.  There is a legislative path for immigration reform either through reconciliation or through the Dream and Promise Act and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. We are ready to make sure our essential workers are able to live their lives with dignity and free from fear, and to that end we will hold both Democrats and Republicans accountable. 

National Immigration Forum:

Immigrant workers make up 17.4 percent of the labor force in the United States, and they have played a crucial role amid the pandemic. Across numerous sectors, immigrants are doing essential work on the front lines fighting Covid-19 and keeping the nation safe. Immigrants—faithful to their entrepreneurial spirit—have kept our country fed, healthy, and moving forward thanks to their work in health care, food supply, transportation, and other vital jobs.

The Forum believes that if our economy is to recover from the setbacks Covid-19 presented, we need immigrant workers operating at full steam. Hence, we urge Congress to pass immigration reforms to deal with the existence of the millions of people already living and working in the United States, many of whom are essential workers standing alongside American-born workers to help with Covid-19 response and recovery. The Forum endorses legislation that would allow essential workers—such as agricultural and health care workers—to earn permanent resident status and the possibility of citizenship.

National Immigration Law Center

Today’s hearing is an important step forward, as we continue to urge Congress to seize this critical moment and provide a long overdue pathway to citizenship for essential workers, immigrant youth, people with temporary protected status, and, eventually, all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. As we move into a recovery from COVID and build back our nation, we must recognize that there is no recovery without immigrants.

Church World Service:

For far too long, Dreamers, farm workers, TPS holders and many more immigrant workers have waited for Congress to deliver an opportunity to pass a meaningful, permanent solution that provides a path to citizenship. CWS joins nearly 1,000 faith organizations, faith leaders, and people of faith urging the Biden administration to include a pathway to citizenship for essential immigrant workers, farmworkers, people with DACA, TPS, and DED, and their families in the upcoming recovery packages prioritized through reconciliation […]. CWS urges the Biden administration and Congress to secure a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants, including essential workers, immediately.

FIRM Action:

More than five million undocumented essential workers have risked their health and lives throughout the pandemic to keep the country from completely collapsing. They take care of our kids and elderly, keep our hospitals and public spaces clean, and they are the workers–in the fields and grocery store aisles–who are responsible for feeding the nation. Congress has the ability to create this path and use any and all vehicles available to make it a reality–including via reconciliation. Denying them a pathway to citizenship is irresponsible and cruel.

Make the Road

The country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic depends on Congress advancing legislation that delivers on its promise of long overdue relief to millions of DACA recipients, TPS holders and undocumented essential workers. With broad support across the country, Congress must deliver a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants as part of the reconciliation process. Before and throughout the pandemic immigrant essential workers put their life on the line to keep our communities safe and sustain our economy. It is time Congress values their work, honors their sacrifices, and recognizes their contributions by keeping them safe from deportation and separation from their families. To Build Back Better, Congress must take decisive action to move forward a path to citizenship for essential workers by passing the Citizenship for Essential Workers Act without any harmful provisions that criminalize our people.

CHIRLA (Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights):

Undocumented immigrants are workers, taxpayers, consumers, entrepreneurs and neighbors, fueling our economic growth as a nation at every step. Year after year, they add trillions of dollars to our GDP and contribute to federal, state and local coffers with their taxes.

But during this past year, they have done even more: they have kept us safe even as they risked their own health to keep the country running. Some of them have even lost their lives in that effort. This bill would look after their families.

The least we can do as a nation is to see that sacrifice, acknowledge it, and reward them with the path to citizenship so many of them have sought for decades. They have our gratitude, but they deserve more: they must have the legalization that will allow them to keep contributing to this nation, now in the full sunlight of a fairer system–not in the shadow of fear and deportation.

United We Dream:

Over five million undocumented people continue to put their lives on the line to keep our communities and families healthy, fed, and safe amidst the pandemic. Despite facing increased risk of exposure to COVID-19, millions of undocumented people remain excluded from federal relief and recovery efforts, and in several cases have been denied vaccines in states like Florida and Texas because of their immigration status.

With immigration status being one of the most significant barriers preventing communities from fully recovering from COVID-19, passing a pathway to citizenship for essential workers, immigrant youth, TPS holders, and farm workers is relief. Until all undocumented communities are protected permanently, we will not fully recover. Senate Democrats must do everything in their power to act swiftly to deliver a pathway to citizenship for millions now! This includes adding a pathway to citizenship for millions in the American Jobs Package and moving it through the budget reconciliation process.

Center for American Progress:

Providing these essential workers with permanent legal status will allow them to realize their full potential, to realize their American dreams. This is not only part of a just, inclusive, and robust post-pandemic economic recovery for all Americans, but can be done without increasing undocumented immigration to the U.S. Immigrant essential workers who lack permanent legal status deserve more than our recognition and our praise; they have earned a pathway to citizenship. They have kept us fed by working in our nation’s food supply chain. Workers deemed essential today should not live with the uncertainty and fear of deportation tomorrow.

With each day that goes by without meaningful immigration reform the fear of deportation or separation due to immigration status sits as an added burden on the shoulders of millions of immigrant essential workers and their families. Indeed, immigrant essential workers who lack permanent legal status have earned a pathway to citizenship. A pathway to citizenship for these workers is crucial not only for just keeping families together, but also for an inclusive and robust post-pandemic rebuilding of America.

America’s Voice:

Immigrant workers are essential workers and it’s time our country values their work, sacrifices, and contributions by providing a path to citizenship. We cannot continue to simultaneously treat essential workers as both essential and deportable. 

In his short time in the Senate, Sen. Padilla has taken an important leadership role on immigration and as Chair of the Immigration Subcommittee. Today’s hearing marks a new phase in the debate that underscores Democrats’ consensus that this is the year to finally achieve a popular breakthrough on citizenship and for Democrats to use their majority to change lives, strengthen the country and engage America’s immigrants fully in our recovery from COVID-19 and our recovery from the Trump years.

We Are Home is a nationwide campaign to fight for immigrant communities on three fronts: prioritizing and demanding a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America; a moratorium and overhaul of interior enforcement; and broad affirmative relief from deportation. We Are Home is co-chaired by Community Change/Community Change Action; National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA)/Care in Action; Service Employees International Union (SEIU); United Farm Workers/UFW Foundation; and United We Dream.

Javier Ramos illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Javier Ramos Vigil

Rideshare Driver Killed in Chicago Amid Carjacking Crisis Targeting Uber and Lyft Drivers

Drivers Guild Demands Action from Uber, Lyft, City of Chicago

7pm Tonight: The Independent Drivers Guild will take part in Prayer Vigil Tonight Honoring Javier Ramos – Details Below

The Independent Drivers Guild (IDG) is mourning the loss of rideshare driver Javier Ramos who was killed in a carjacking early Tuesday morning in Chicago. Ramos is survived by his 9-year-old daughter and a close-knit circle of family and friends. His death comes amid a carjacking crisis in the city in which rideshare drivers have been targeted repeatedly. 

Ramos was killed exactly one week after the IDG held a vigil for other rideshare drivers who were attacked in car jackings earlier this month, one of whom was left paralyzed from the waist down and one who was kidnapped, robbed, and sexually assaulted by her passenger. The vigil was followed by a vehicle procession to Uber and Lyft’s Chicago offices where the Guild posted its safety demands in letters to the companies’ CEOs. 

“Javier Ramos was found lying in the street by police and transported to a hospital as a John Doe. Unable to communicate and robbed of his belongings, he passed. He tried to fight off his attackers. They shot him in his face and head. He was then removed from his car, and the violent criminals proceeded to run him over with it,” said IDG organizer and longtime Chicago rideshare driver Lenny Sanchez.

“Javier Ramos was a father, a brother, and a beloved member of our community. And he did not have to die. Say his name, Dara Khosrowshahi. Say his name, Logan Green. Blood is on your hands and it’s not the last of it. Comply with our driver safety demands now,” demanded Sanchez.

In January, the IDG launched a driver safety campaign, demanding action from Uber and Lyft, and the City of Chicago to protect rideshare drivers. The Guild has called for a City Council hearing on the crisis. Drivers and members of the community who wish to learn more and show their support are urged to go to IDGactnow.org where you can sign a petition to the City Council and sign up for updates on upcoming actions and events.

“If Uber and Lyft won’t protect Chicago’s hardworking drivers, the city needs to act to compel them to. Chicago cannot allow these apps to be used by criminals to hunt down their next victims,” said Brendan Sexton, executive director of the Independent Drivers Guild. “While Uber and Lyft have made rider safety a priority with constant improvements, driver safety has been virtually ignored and this is the result. Rideshare drivers must be licensed, and background checked before they can begin serving our community, but Uber and Lyft do not even require passengers to verify their identity. End the disparity and protect drivers now.”

Earlier this month, the Guild launched a fund to support Chicago rideshare drivers and their families affected by car jackings and assaults.

The Independent Drivers Guild is the largest rideshare driver organization in the nation, organizing for drivers’ rights, fair pay and better working conditions. Together, we’ve won landmark victories that put billions of dollars in drivers’ pockets. The Independent Drivers Guild is a non-profit affiliate of the Machinists Union that advocates for more than 250,000 drivers in NY, IL, NJ, CT and across New England. We are driver-led and driver-powered.

Learn more

Javier Ramos Vigil Information

Friends and family of Javier Ramos will gather for a prayer vigil in his honor Friday, March 26, 2021, at 7 pm in North Park, 10040 Addison Avenue, Franklin Park, Illinois. Invited guests include Congressman Jesus “Chuy” García, Senators Don Harmon, Karina Villa and Ram Villivalam; Representatives Maura Hirschsuer and Kathy Willis; Franklin Park Mayor, Barrett Pedersen; Director of Police, Michael Witz; and Independent Drivers Guild advocate, Lenny Sanchez.

The vigil will honor the life of Javier Ramos who was killed by his passenger during an attempted carjacking earlier this week. Those who knew “Javi” knew that he lived for the joy of his life, his 9-year-old daughter. 

Javier’s death comes as Chicago is seeing an exorbitant increase in city-wide car jackings, some of which have culminated in the deaths of the victims. It is well past the time to address the issue of senseless gun violence. Javi’s death should not be in vain. 

Cousin and spokesperson for the family, Ms. Illinois International 2021, Hortencia Ramos said “This could have been anyone’s brother, anyone’s son, anyone’s father, anyone’s cousin,” The vigil is open to all who want to share their love and support of Javier and his family. Attendees are encouraged to wear orange in support of a future without gun violence.

Uber/Lyft Drivers Demand Action from Rideshare Companies After Recent Driver Killings

Drivers Guild to Hold Rally, Caravan To Protect Drivers’ Lives

Drivers and supporters can learn more at IDGActNow.org

Rideshare drivers are being assaulted in targeted attacks at an alarming rate and just last week two drivers were killed by their passengers. The Independent Drivers Guild is demanding that Uber and Lyft take immediate action to protect driver safety, starting with verifying customer identities. On Friday, the Guild will hold a rally at the O’Hare airport TNP waiting lot before caravanning to the Uber and Lyft hubs where rideshare drivers, including carjacking victims, will hold a press conference with community activist Ja’Mal Green, city leaders and the family of Javier Ramos, the driver who was killed by his passenger in Chicago last week.

The Guild will also hold rallies in New York and Connecticut in memory of Javier Ramos and Mohammad Anwar and in solidarity with rideshare drivers nationwide facing violence on the job.

FRIDAY 4/2 RALLY, CARAVAN, AND PRESS CONFERENCE

10AM rally at O’Hare Uber/ Lyft Waiting Lot (ORD TNP lot)

11:30AM Caravan to Uber and Lyft Chicago Hubs

12:00PM Press conference at Uber Hub: We stand up for ourselves and demand action now!
Uber Greenlight Hub on North Avenue

1401 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

Rayshard Brooks Killer Bailed Out

By Eamonn Burke

Garrett Rolfe, the former Atlanta police officer who murdered Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot on June 12, was released on $500,000 bond. Rolfe faced a felony murder charge among 10 others after a deadly altercation in which Brooks was shot in the back while running away carrying the officer’s taser.

Tomika Miller, Brook’s widow, was emotional at the hearing. She remembered Rayshard Brooks as a loving man and father, and described Rolfe as a threat while pleading the judge not to grant him bail. 

“My husband did not deserve to die, and I should not live in fear while waiting for the man who killed my husband to be tried in court,” said Miller. “My life is completely turned upside down since this has happened. I’ve been unable to sleep, eat, or even console my children.”

Rolfe’s lawyers suggested that he had to use deadly force because it was Brooks’ who escalated the altercation and asked for a $50,000 bond initially. They even denied the fact that Rolfe kicked the defenseless Brooks after he was shot, which is shown on video. The prosecutors, on the other hand, wanted at least a $1 million dollar bond and argued that Brooks was not a threat to the officer as he was running away without the taser pointed at Rolfe.

The killing re-ignited protests in the Atlanta area, and has brought policing changes to the Atlanta police department, as it will for the entire nation.

consumer reports, 360 MAGAZINE

CONSUMER REPORTS AIRLINE URGE

Consumer Reports Urges Major Airlines To Let Kids Sit With Their Parents Without Extra Fees

More Than 120,000 Sign Petition To American, Delta And United Airlines; CR To Testify At Congressional Hearing On Tuesday On The Passenger Experience 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In letters sent today to American, Delta, and United Airlines, Consumer Reports called on the companies to ensure children are seated with their families on planes at no additional cost.  More than 120,000 people have signed Consumer Reports’ petition to the airlines in support of this effort since it was launched just over one week ago. 

“Families face a constant battle to ensure they are seated together, even when they choose seats far in advance,” said Anna Laitin, director of financial policy at Consumer Reports.  “The airlines should put safety first and seat children with their families without charging them extra for it.”

Consumer Reports delivered its letters to the three airlines in advance of a hearing by the House Aviation Subcommittee on Tuesday, March 3, at 10am EST, examining the experiences of airline passengers and what can be done to improve it.  William J. McGee, Aviation Adviser for Consumer Reports, will testify at the hearing about a number of issues, including the need to ensure the safety of children travelling with their parents. 

In 2016, Congress directed the Department of Transportation to “review, and if appropriate, establish a policy” to ensure airlines allow families with children 13 and under to sit together without paying additional fees. After two years of inaction by the DOT, Consumer Reports filed a Freedom of Information Act request to find out the status of this inquiry.  One year later, the DOT finally forwarded 136 consumer complaints to CR, while indicating that it was unnecessary to take action “based on the low number of complaints.”

Consumer Reports analyzed those complaints and discovered that some involved children as young as one or two years old who were assigned seats apart from their parents.  Other children seated separately were autistic, suffered seizures, or were susceptible to life-threatening nut allergies.  CR began publicizing the issue last fall and set up a portal to the DOT’s complaint system, generating more than 600 submissions in just two months – well over four times as many as the agency received in the previous two and a half years.

Parents who submitted complaints shared how they bought tickets and chose seats together, but the airline reassigned their seats before the flight.  They were forced to pay for an upgrade, or beg gate agents, flight attendants, and other passengers to switch seats with them.  Other families buy low-cost Basic Economy tickets only to find that this fare didn’t just deny them the opportunity to pick their own seats, it put the parents in seats far from their children.  Some families are told gate agents can fix the problem, but only if they are willing to pay an extra fee.

Beyond the anxiety and frustration this causes for families, seating children away from their parents also creates a safety risk for all passengers during an emergency.  Furthermore, a 2018 FBI report found that inflight sexual assaults are on the rise, with investigations into assaults on children as young as eight.  

Over the past week, all three airlines have maintained that they have policies to ensure children are seated with their parents.   However, the complaints submitted recently to the DOT make it clear that this problem persists and that these policies are not always followed.  Too often, the onus is put on the parents to ensure that they are seated with their children, rather than the airlines who control the seat map and know the ages of all of the people travelling on the plane. 

“The airlines can fix this problem without government intervention,” said Anna Laitin, director of financial policy for Consumer Reports.   “Ensuring that children are always seated with their parents regardless of the ticket purchased would improve safety and security for all travelers while easing the minds of families.”

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Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit membership organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. For 80 years, CR has provided evidence-based product testing and ratings, rigorous research, hard-hitting investigative journalism, public education, and steadfast policy action on behalf of consumers’ interests. Unconstrained by advertising or other commercial influences, CR has exposed landmark public health and safety issues and strives to be a catalyst for pro-consumer changes in the marketplace. From championing responsible auto safety standards, to winning food and water protections, to enhancing healthcare quality, to fighting back against predatory lenders in the financial markets, Consumer Reports has always been on the front lines, raising the voices of consumers.