All eyes are on our ears as we recognize national Audiology Awareness and Protect Your Hearing Month in October. Because hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the United States, with over 36 million Americans suffering from it, the need for increased awareness is vital.
Learning more about the causes, symptoms and ways to protect your hearing is more important than ever.
Here are some startling facts about hearing loss:
- The most common cause of hearing loss is due to exposure to loud sounds, not from aging. Damage can occur from sounds above 85 decibels.
- Other causes of hearing loss include frequent ear infections, ototoxic medications, and even trauma to the ears or head.
- The majority of people with hearing loss are below retirement age.
- The onset of hearing loss is often a gradual process that goes unnoticed. Would you recognize the symptoms?
- Your degree of hearing loss often helps determine treatment options.
- Studies show that people wait an average of 5-7 years before seeking treatment after first noticing signs of hearing loss.
- Untreated hearing loss in infants and children can greatly impact the ability to communicate, learn, and develop social skills and can cause low self-esteem.
- In older adults, untreated hearing loss can lead to social isolation, which can lead to dementia and even Alzheimer’s.
Noise-induced Hearing Loss (NIHL), the most common cause of hearing loss is cumulative, permanent and preventable. Following these tips may help preserve your hearing:
- Discover which sounds you’re exposed to are above 85 decibels. You may be surprised to find out that noise from hair dryers, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, blenders, sporting events, and even heavy traffic are potentially damaging.
- Whenever possible, distance yourself from the source of the sound. When that option isn’t available, employ the use of hearing protection products.
- When using MP3 players or other personal listening devices, limit time and volume. An often recommended rule of the thumb is the 60/60 Rule: listen for no longer than 60 minutes, at 60 % of the volume. Then give your ears a rest.
Take the opportunity to have your hearing evaluated this month. We have three convenient locations in the New York City neighborhoods of Manhattan and Scarsdale.