Hearing Loss

Recently the CDC released an article discussing hearing loss and the permanent damage that can be done from many everyday activities. Obviously, participation in loud sporting events, music concerts, and the use of power tools will cause damage when repeated over time. About 70% of people exposed to loud noise never or seldom wear hearing protection. October is “National Protect Your Hearing” month designed to bring light and raise awareness about what is needed to protect your hearing. Repeated exposure can do long-term damage to your hearing – long after the exposure has stopped.

Ways to Help Recognize and Minimize Hearing Loss:

1. Do you need to shout to be heard?
2. After an event hearing loss should return to normal within a few hours or days.
Repeated exposures will eventually do permanent to the inner ear.
3. Ways to protect include turning down the volume, taking breaks from the noise, and using hearing protection either earplugs or hearing protection earmuffs.
4. Some indicators that you have hearing loss include difficulty hearing high pitched sounds (doorbell, telephone, alarm, and difficulty understanding conversations with background noise.)

Hearing loss is the third most common chronic health problem in the United States. Almost twice as many report hearing loss compared to cancer and diabetes. One in four adults who self-report “excellent to good” hearing already have heavy damage.

Some examples of everyday things that can contribute to hearing loss are music from smartphones, personal listening devices, fitness classes, power tools, gas-powered lawn mowers leaf blowers, sirens, firearms, firecrackers, sporting events, concerts and movie theaters.

There is no medical or surgical treatment for hearing loss caused by noise. Damaged hair cells do not grow back. Try to protect your hearing going forward and having a checkup if you suspect hearing loss and see if there are ways to compensate for hearing loss and the possibility of using a device to maximize your hearing.