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AirDrives Interactive Earphones Prevent Long-term Hearing Damage

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New Product Offering Exceeds OSHA and House Ear Institute Recommended Safe Sound Guidelines

The creators of AirDrives™ interactive earphones, designed to blend music with life’s surroundings, today announced findings from a study conducted by the San Diego Hearing Center which indicates that AirDrives exceed the House Ear Institute and Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) standards for all day listening. These results demonstrate the unique safety feature offered by AirDrives and AirDrives for Kids earphones in comparison to traditional ear bud and ear canal style earphones which currently dominate the marketplace.

“AirDrives and AirDrives for Kids are the first earphones to help prevent long-term hearing damage due to their proprietary outer ear design,” explained Blanche Blackington, president of the San Diego Hearing Center. “According to our study results, AirDrives and AirDrives for Kids are approved for over eight hours of safe listening. At peak volume, other tested headsets ranged from only one minute to four hours of safe listening, while AirDrives exceeded the eight-hour safe listing time according to OSHA standards.”

Commenting on the study, T.J. Barnes, director and founder of the International Association for the Hearing Challenged (IAHC), calls AirDrives’ outer-ear design a “giant step forward in preventing noise-induced hearing loss that over-the-ear and in-ear headphones can cause.”

During the study, Blackington examined the sound pressure levels of the AirDrives interactive earphones, as well as several conventional ear buds and ear canal styles, through a series of performance sound checks. With an iPod volume set at 100 percent, the decibel levels emitted by seven different earphone models, including AirDrives, were measured as the sound pressure moved down the ear canal landing at the cochlea. AirDrives and AirDrives for Kids’ highest pressure level registered at only 80 decibels during an extended period of exposure which falls below the 85 decibel maximum for all day listening, as compared with traditional ear buds, which registered from 88 to 108 decibels.

Ear safety and the dangers of noise induced hearing damage are gaining national attention as mobile music becomes more accessible and popular. According to Blackington, individuals that use portable music players need to understand that unsafe sound pressure levels can have an irreversible effect on the inner ear, causing permanent nerve damage and hearing loss. AirDrives’ open architecture leaves the auditory canal unplugged, thus avoiding potentially damaging decibel levels often associated with conventional ear buds.

“It was important for me to create a technology that enables music lovers, active individuals and parents concerned for their children’s safety a way to enjoy music without the danger of inducing permanent hearing loss,” said Ken Wright, founder of InAir Technology and AirDrives director of product development. “We’re thrilled that AirDrives and AirDrives for Kids have been proven as an effective way to enjoy music more safely throughout the day.”

In an effort to help raise awareness about ear safety, AirDrives has also worked with the San Diego Hearing Center to create the following helpful tips for safer listening:

  • Practice caution and be respectful of noise exposure. If your neighbor can hear your music through your earphones, the music is too loud.
  • Look for outer-ear earphone designs, which are more sanitary than styles that rest inside the ear. Ear buds unnaturally force waxes back into the ear canal and need to be sanitized often for safe and healthy use.
  • Monitor both the volume level and time exposed, as both are major factors in noise-induced hearing damage.
  • Be volume-conscious: While volume control varies from product to product, maintaining a volume level of 50 percent to 60 percent on all portable music players is a safe bet.
  • Refrain from listening through one earbud at any given time. Prolonged use can create unilateral hearing damage.
  • Wear earplugs in loud settings, such as concerts and sporting events, as they reduce sound pressure by 30 decibels.

AirDrives are compatible with iPod, MP3 Players, computers and portable DVD systems, and are available now. The suggested retail price is $99.99 for AirDrives, and $69.99 for AirDrives for Kids. To obtain more information about AirDrives and AirDrives for Kids or to order online please visit http://www.AirDrives.com.

About InAir™ Technology
AirDrives™ interactive earphones utilize the proprietary InAir™ Technology. For more information on this technology, please visit http://www.inairtechnology.com. In 2006, the InAir Technology was acquired by Mad Catz, Inc., (“Mad Catz”) whose parent company is a publicly-traded company listed on the American and Toronto Stock Exchanges (ticker symbol MCZ). Mad Catz is headquartered in San Diego, California. Patents pending.

About Mad Catz Interactive, Inc.
Mad Catz is a worldwide leader of innovative peripherals for the interactive entertainment industry. Mad Catz designs and markets a range of accessories for video game systems and publishes video game software, including the industry-leading GameShark brand of video game enhancements. Mad Catz has distribution through most leading retailers offering interactive entertainment products. Mad Catz has its operating headquarters in San Diego, California, and offices in Canada, Europe and Asia. For additional information go to http://www.madcatz.com.

About Blanche Blackington, President of the San Diego Hearing Center
Blanche Blackington, M.A., has been in private practice since 1990. She earned her Master’s degree at San Diego State University (SDSU). She taught a graduate-level Audiology course at SDSU for several years. Blanche is a consultant for the Hearing Aid Dispenser’s Bureau and is active in the licensing examination process. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology, a member of the Academy of Dispensing Audiologist, and certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Blanche takes pride in the fact that her practice incorporates a ‘patient first’ philosophy.
http://www.sandiegohearing.com

About T.J. Barnes, R.N. – The Voice of Hearing
T.J. is the creator and founder of the Hearing U Recognition Symbol and the International Association for the Hearing Challenged. She was born with a hearing loss and due to a ski accident realized the importance of people being able to see when one has a hearing loss. Ms. Barnes is a member of the San Diego Downtown Lion Club, National Association for Business Women, Far West Skiers Association and Toastmasters International.
http://www.intlahc.org

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