October is National Protect Your Hearing Month

Most people don't wear hearing protection when mowing the lawn, attending a live concert, or loud sporting event. A CDC survey found 70% of Americans exposed to loud noise need to wear hearing protection.


Exposure to Loud Sound Without Hearing Protection


Fastening your seat belt in the car or wearing sunscreen for a day at the lake has become routine in our daily lives. So why do we not think to wear hearing protection when mowing the lawn, attending a live concert, or going to a loud sporting event?


A 2020 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found 70% of Americans exposed to loud noise, never or seldom wear hearing protection.

The National Institute for Deafness and other Communication Disorders report 50% of young people listen to their music too loudly.


The CDC published data in 2018 stating 22 million (17%) of US workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work.


Exposure to long periods of loud sound or being exposed to hazardous impact noise such as firearms without hearing protection, can result in irreversible damage to our hearing. As a result, US adults have audiograms consistent with hearing loss resulting from hazardous noise exposure. While we all lose some hearing with advanced age, Noise Induced Hearing loss (NIHL) is preventable and is the leading cause of hearing loss in early adulthood.


According to World Health Organization, 50% of persons aged 12-35 years of age are at risk for hearing loss due to exposure to unsafe levels of sounds in recreational settings.


I recommend:

  1. Adjust the volume. Many teens and active adults listen to music, audio books and podcasts with Bluetooth connected devices which should not be heard by others from 4-6 feet away.

  2. Wear double protection (ear plugs and earmuffs) when exposed to loud impulse noise such as from firearms.

  3. Invest in electronic hearing protection for a work site or home remodeling project. Conversations can still be heard without having to take hearing protection off and back on the ears to protect your hearing while operating equipment.

  4. Choose custom hearing protection with noise attenuating filters based on your need for communication when simultaneously around hazardous noise.

  5. Schedule a hearing test on an annual basis to monitor your hearing and determine your risk for hearing loss.

It’s never too late to protect. Even if hearing loss is already present, wearing hearing protection today will prevent further damage.


Hearing loss has an impact on communication, social interaction, and even brain health. Numerous studies have shown a higher risk of dementia in adults with untreated hearing loss.


Noise induced hearing loss is preventable. Those who prevent hearing loss today, will live to have better hearing in the future.


References:

World Report on Hearing , March 2021

Statistics about the Public Health Burden of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss

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