5 Critical Facts About Hearing Protection

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We strive to bring new and useful information regarding hearing health to all our readers. Here are 5 surprising facts about hearing loss you may not have been aware of.

Fact #1: Excessive noise can lead to Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL)

Surprisingly, around 30 million workers in the United States are exposed to hazardous noise levels on the job. A shocking 25% of Americans at the ages of 65-74, and nearly 50% of those who are 75 and older, have disabling hearing loss. Nearly 1 in 5 teenagers in America are exposed to hazardous noise levels while working and are expected to acquire hearing loss largely due to overexposure of loud sounds. Two-thirds of our countries’ service members and veterans have NIHL or tinnitus, or both.

Fact #2: NIHL is a preventable condition

NIHL is preventable if a person follows the “Walk, Block, and Turn” method. To explain more clearly, a person should, walk away from the source of sound, block noise coming into your ears using ear plugs, and to turn down the volume.

Fact #3: Musicians are 57% more likely to experience tinnitus, and are almost 4 times more likely to develop NIHL than the average person.

When performing, the sound on a stage can reach up to 110 decibels (dB), which is the noise equivalent of a jackhammer. Prolonged exposure to loud noises can cause the hair cells of the inner ear to be damaged. Unfortunately, this can lead to permanent hearing loss.

Fact #4: A portable listening device (like an iPod) at its maximum volume (105 dB), is louder than heavy city traffic, construction equipment, and a noisy subway platform.

Let’s be honest, most people listen to their earbuds on a high volume, but it can severely hurt your hearing. An estimated 20% of teenagers (an age group that frequently uses portable listening devices) will suffer from hearing loss due to overexposure to noise.

Fact #5: Steps to prevent and identify hearing loss should begin at birth.

In 1993, there were only 5% of newborns tested for hearing loss from birth. Thanks to the Hearing Health Foundation’s crucial role in passing the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening legislation, today that number is 97%. This early intervention can help diminish or even eliminate the negative impacts of undetected hearing loss on social, academic and emotional development in children.