Hearing loss is one of the most prevalent conditions to affect the public. According to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), it’s the third most common physical condition after arthritis and heart disease. The onset can be gradual or sudden, depending on its cause, but one thing is for sure: the effects of hearing loss can be life changing and profound.

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The Hearing Health Foundation(HHF)—a nonprofit that provides funding for research on hearing and balance—has compiled a list of five “critical” facts about hearing loss and hearing protection, to help raise awareness about hearing loss.  In this article, we’ll share the highlights, edited and adapted from the HHF website.

  1. Hearing Loss Identification and Prevention Should Begin at Birth – According to HHF, its role in helping to pass Universal Newborn Hearing Screening legislation, increased newborn screening from 5% in 1993 to 97% in 2017. By identifying hearing problems as early as possible, interventions can be targeted to mitigate impacts on emotional, social, and academic development in children.
  2. Musicians are More Likely to Develop Tinnitus and Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) – Long exposure to loud noise—onstage sound can reach up to 100 dB, the equivalent of a jackhammer—can permanently damage hair cells in the inner ear. Musicians develop tinnitus at a rate 57% higher than the general public, and are four times more likely to get NIHL, said the HHF.
  3. NIHL Can be Prevented – HHF advises individuals to “Walk, Block, and Turn:” walk away from the source of loud noise; block your ears with plugs; and turn down the volume on headphones or music players.Offer low-cost options
  4. NIHL is Caused by Excessive Noise – 
    1. About two-thirds of veterans and service members have NIHL or tinnitus OR both.
    2. Disabling hearing loss affects 25% of Americans ages 65-74, and nearly 50% of those over 75.
    3. Many veterans also have processing disorders as a result of exposure to blasts or high noise.
    4. Almost 1 in 5 Americans teenagers are predicted to develop hearing loss as a result of exposure to loud sounds.
    5. 30 million US workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels at their place of employment.
  5. Portable Music Device Loudness, at Maximum Volume, is Comparable to Environmental Noise – At 105 dB, a music player is louder than drills, heavy city traffic, and noisy subway platforms, and as loud as a table saw. HHF estimates that 20% of teenagers who regularly play their music loud will suffer hearing loss as a result of noise exposure.

Some, but not all, kinds of hearing loss are preventable. Given the long-term costs of hearing loss, it makes sense to limit exposure to loud noise or to wear protective ear plugs/headphones.

FINANCING

For those who decided the time has come to visit a hearing care practitioner, financing the cost of treatment is yet another hurdle to overcome. That’s where CareCredit can help. By offering easy, monthly payments, there is no excuse for not making hearing health a priority!

This content is provided to the 4MyHearingBiz community by CareCredit and also adapted from a fact sheet by Laura Friedman from the Hearing Health Foundation.