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More teens experience hearing loss

2012-09-04

There are a growing number of teens experiencing hearing loss due to excessively loud music played through ear buds and headphones.

Michael Andreozzi, President of Beltone New England , joined The Rhode Show with important information for parents.

Why should people be concerned with hearing loss?

There has been an overall 31% increase in hearing loss this year alone in adolescents aged 12 to 19. Currently, 1 in 5 teens has a hearing loss, which is incredibly substantial.
What many people are not aware of is that Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic condition behind arthritis and hypertension.

This is a concerning issue since a large number of people wait 15 years or more from the time they first recognize they have a hearing loss, to the point where they seek out professional attention.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communicative Disorders, approximately 32.5 million Americans have a hearing loss (1 in 10)
• 1 in 6 baby boomers have a hearing loss
• 1 in 4 people over age 65 have a hearing loss
• 1 in 2 over the age of 75 have a hearing loss

People lose their hearing gradually over time, so symptoms are often hard to notice, which means that many times it is those around us who notice first.

What most people do not understand is that hearing aids have the ability to help amplify the hearing you have left, but they do not have the ability to restore hearing you have lost. That is why taking action sooner rather than later is so vital to your hearing health and quality of life.

What are some of the warning signs of hearing loss?

You think other people sound muffled or are mumbling
You require frequent repetition of sounds and conversations
You have difficulty hearing in noisy situations, like restaurants and malls
You have trouble hearing children’s and women’s voices
You have the TV and radio turned up to high volumes
You answer or respond inappropriately in conversations

Studies have linked untreated hearing loss to:
• Irritability, negativism and anger
• Fatigue, tension, stress and depression
• Avoidance or withdrawal from social situations
• Reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety
• Impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks
• Reduced job performance and earning power
• Diminished psychological and overall health , and even Dementia

According to a study done by the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine, seniors with hearing loss are significantly more likely to develop dementia over time than those who retain their hearing, researchers suggest.

The findings could lead to new ways to combat dementia, a condition that affects millions of people worldwide and carries heavy societal burdens.

Are there ways people can work to prevent hearing loss?

Preventing hearing loss boils down to becoming educated about safe and unsafe sound levels.

Safe Sounds:
• Daily conversation: 60 dB
• Daily conversation: 60 dB
• Telephone ring: 65 dB
• Alarm clock/Motor traffic/Vacuum Cleaner: 80 dB

Dangerous Noises:
• Lawnmower: 90 dB
• Chainsaw/Drills: 100 dB
• Live rock Music at a concert or club: 100 to 130 dB
• MP3 player ear buds: 100 dB and greater
• Sandblasting: 120 dB
• Gunshots: 150 to 170 dB

One of the biggest causes of adolescent hearing loss is the use of iPod and MP3 devices.

In fact, listening to earbuds, or in-ear headphones, for 90 minutes a day at 80% volume is probably safe for long-term hearing — a useful cutoff point to keep in mind. (But softer is better: you can safely tune in at 70% volume for about 4½ hours a day.)

The risk of permanent hearing loss can increase with just five minutes of exposure a day to music at full volume.

Over time, the noise can damage the delicate hair cells in the inner ear that transform sound waves to the electrical signals that the brain understands as sound. definitely monitoring volume of music devices will save your hearing in the long-term.

Also, working around any machinery or loud noises can also cause long-term damage. It is best to have your hearing tested annually in order to accurately monitor your hearing levels.

Only about 14% of people actually have their hearing tested at the time of the annual physical exam!

Noise Induced Hearing Loss - Deafness due to loud noises leads to sensorineural hearing loss, which means areas of the inner ear have been destroyed.

With this type of loss, those afflicted can typically only hear very loud sounds or voices. This loss is caused by frequent exposure to sounds greater than 85 decibels (dB), and is different from conductive hearing loss, which results from damage build-up of ear wax, ear disorders, or a punctured ear drum. Noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented by using the decibel guide below to regulate exposure to sounds that are too loud.

Noise-induced hearing loss is a particular hazard for workers in jobs where perpetually loud sounds cannot be avoided. Steelworkers, musicians, construction workers, and military soldiers are just some
of the professionals at risk for sensorineural hearing loss.

Wearing ear plugs and ear covers can reduce exposure by up to 30 decibels for these workers. Protective gear can be bought at drug stores and hardware stores.

 

 

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