If you believe your hearing is good, that might not be the actual case. A newly released federal study has found that about 1 in 4 adults who think they have good or excellent hearing have signs of hearing loss.
Around 40 million U.S. adults ages 20 to 69 suffer from noise-induced hearing loss. Twenty-four percent of hearing loss cases is due to noisy workplaces, a new survey from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
"What surprised us was we found many people with evidence of noise-induced hearing damage who don't have noisy jobs, who got that damage from their home or community," said acting CDC director Dr. Ann Schuchat.
Many people are exposed to noise that impairs their hearing. This gets worse over time as they get more and continually exposed to loud sounds, which could range from deafening sirens to rock band concerts.
The CDC study discovered that 20 percent of Americans in their 20s have lost the ability to heart the softest sounds, with the effect manifesting more in men than in women. Another surprising finding is that more than 1 in 2 Americans with hearing damage from noise do not actually have noisy jobs.
Schuchat added that many people — specifically a quarter in the survey — deem their hearing good or excellent but already had signs of hearing damage in tests done.
Hearing Loss: Dangers, Costs, And What Can Be Done
There are groups that are at a higher risk for hearing loss, including males, ages 40 and above, those exposed to loud sounds at home and in the community (particularly noise of 85 decibels for 8 hours or beyond), workers in noisy environments, and patients who take certain medications.
Continued noise exposure, for instance, can lead to health issues such as stress, depression and anxiety, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Sound vibrates the eardrum and the ear’s tiny bones, which in turn vibrate the inner ear’s hair cells. Loud noise exposure over time can permanently damage these hair cells.
Hearing loss can come at a great cost. For the first year of treatment, it is estimated to increase over 500 percent from $8 billion in 2002 to about $51 billion in 2030, according to the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
But how loud is too loud? There isn’t an exact answer, as it is often unknown until it is too late, said Dr. David Agus in a CBS News report. There is no quantitative measure yet, but one can start protecting him or her hearing since nerves in the ears can no longer regenerate once damage has already happened.
To avoid hearing loss, one should implement the following steps:
• Avoid noisy places if possible.
• Use earplugs or other protective gear such as noise-canceling headphones when exposed to loud noises.
• Keep the TV volume down or use headphones or earbuds whenever necessary.
• Seek help and a hearing checkup from a doctor for protection from the continuing assault of noise.