If you’re asked to name one of the top three medical conditions affecting adults in the US, would you name hearing loss?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published a study that found a rise in hearing loss in the US. It was found that “one in four adults aged 20 to 69 experiences hearing deficits,” and that “hearing loss is twice as common as diabetes or cancer in adults.”
Many people don’t think of hearing loss because it is an invisible condition that tends to occur gradually, over an extended period of time. Hearing loss has far-reaching affects beyond not being able to hear clearly – and should be addressed and treated as soon as possible.
CDC Statistics on Hearing Loss in the US
The CDC reports that approximately 40 million adults in the US experience some degree of hearing loss. Hearing loss may occur naturally with age, due to exposure to loud noise over extended periods of time, or due to complications with other medical conditions.
Workplace noise is a frequent cause for hearing loss. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that about 22 million workers are exposed to potentially damaging noise each year. At the same time, everyday noise outside the job could also contribute to hearing loss. The CDC reports that about 53% of people (between 20 and 69 years old) have hearing damage from noise report no on-the-job exposure.
There are regulations in place to protect most workers on the job. OSHA regulations call for quieter equipment and sounds that do not exceed 85 decibels on the job. There is also a time-weighted scale for exposure to higher decibels – the louder the sound, the less time you should spend immersed in it.
Hearing specialists have pointed to scenarios that indicate the modern world has gotten louder. With more sophisticated technology, longer battery life, and ubiquitous, convenient earbuds, people are exposed to music and media for longer periods of time and at higher volumes. As a result, it’s no surprise that “people may not know that activities away from work can damage hearing just as much as noise on the job.”
[/cs_text][x_custom_headline level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ accent=”false”]Identifying & Treating Hearing Loss
With these high rates of hearing loss, are you wondering now if you are experiencing a hearing loss?
It is difficult to identify if a hearing loss is present. In an article from The Washington Post, CDC’s director, Anne Schuchat, says, “Noise is damaging hearing before anyone notices or diagnoses it. Because of that, the start of hearing loss is underrecognized.” The CDC reports that 25% of US adults who report excellent to good hearing “already have hearing damage.” Hearing loss tends to occur gradually, which is why it often gets worse for some time before it is noticed or diagnosed.
If you tend to ask people to repeat what they’ve said, or to speak louder, it could be hearing loss. Hearing loss interferes with our ability to recognize speech. Speakers’ voices may sound muffled, and while you may be able to hear what’s being said, you may struggle to understand. Speech recognition becomes difficult because you’ll experience gaps in sound signals, so you may miss words and thus misunderstand what’s being said.
If you’ve got the volume turned up to maximum on your devices, and you still can’t hear clearly, it may be hearing loss. Again, the issue is not the volume of sound, but the muffled signals that you miss that make recognition of sound difficult.
The CDC reports that as we get older, our ability to hear higher-pitched sounds becomes more difficult. About 50% of people between 50 and 59 years old, and 68% of people from 60 to 60 years old, are unable to hear high-pitched sounds. This includes higher voices such as that of children and women. In general, hearing loss will interfere with your ability to communicate.
[/cs_text][x_custom_headline level=”h2″ looks_like=”h3″ accent=”false”]If You Suspect You are Experiencing Hearing Loss
If you’ve experienced difficulty with conversations, or feel frustrated in noisy environments, you may be experiencing hearing loss.
The first thing to do is schedule a hearing test with us at Preferred Hearing Centers. Hearing tests are simple and painless procedures that will identify your current hearing abilities. Hearing tests are recommended once a year, by hearing specialists. This way, you can keep track of your hearing abilities and seek treatment if there are changes.
For more information, contact us at Preferred Hearing Centers today!
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