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Americans impacted by hearing loss hits record numbers

May is National Better Hearing Month

Green Guard First Aid and the American Academy of Audiology are encouraging the public to make an appointment with an audiologist if they suspect hearing loss for themselves or any of their loved ones.

According to the National Institutes of Health NIDCD, approximately 20 percent (48 million) of American adults aged 20 to 69, have some trouble with hearing and approximately 28.8 million could benefit from the use of hearing aids. Among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30 percent) has ever used them.

As the baby boomer population ages, more Americans are forced to face hearing health challenges. Growing numbers of younger Americans (including millennials and GenX’ers) are also reporting hearing problems. The NIH NIDCD also states that five in 10 young people listen to music or other audio too loudly and that four in 10 young people are around “dangerously loud noise during events like concerts and sports games.” Occupational noise is another factor impacting hearing in people of all ages who work outdoors, in factories, fulfillment centers, etc.

Technology has progressed extensively and hearing aids are no longer the bulky contraptions of years past.”  Hearing aid companies have stepped up to the plate to make “very cool” hearing aids for kids and young adults. “You can opt to buy hearing aids that are virtually undetectable or you can buy them in a wide range of cool colors and styles. Many work with smart phones.”

Audiologists are the experts in hearing health, Hearing aids are not always the only or recommended solution, which is why it’s important to see an audiologist to further determine the appropriate treatment. Sometimes the cause is temporary or a symptom of another illness or disease. An audiologist will run various tests to determine the cause and will be able to recommend treatment.

 

Some signs of hearing loss may include:

  • Suddenly having to turn up the volume of the television, radio, or stereo and having other family members complain that the volume is too loud.
  • Difficulty understanding people speaking to you and asking people to repeat themselves.
  • Difficulty with phone conversations and understanding the other person.
  • Sudden inability to hear the doorbell, the dog barking, and other household sounds.
  • People telling you that you speak too loudly.
  • Ringing in the ears.

In furthering working to help the public recognize hearing loss, the American Academy of Audiology helped launch a hearing screening app last year, hearScreen USA. The app provides an easy hearing test through the use of a smart phone. For those who demonstrate hearing loss, the app will recommend an audiologist. Based on technology developed by the University of Pretoria, South Africa, the app provides accurate detection of hearing loss in under three minutes.

To find an audiologist, go to www.audiology.org/FindAnAudiologist.

 

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NIOSH Sound Level Meter App – How Noisy Is Your Work Environment?

iPhone displaying the NIOSH Sound Level Meter app.

Ever wonder how loud the noise really is and if it could be damaging your hearing? There’s an app for that!

Do you work in or near a noisy environment, such as a construction site, a popular restaurant, or a concert or sports venue?

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), developed the NIOSH Sound Level Meter (SLM) app for iOS devices to help promote better hearing health and prevention efforts. You can download the free app(link is external) on iTunes.

NIOSH estimates that 22 million workers in the United States are exposed to hazardous noise levels each year. The SLM app can help you prevent permanent hearing loss caused by noise—a problem that can occur immediately or over time.

NIOSH developed the app after its researchers found that most sound meter apps either weren’t accurate enough or lacked features important for occupational noise measurement and monitoring. NIOSH then collaborated with an app developer, EA LAB, to create a new app for use at worksites. Although the app is designed for use at worksites, it also provides accurate noise measurement for everyday use, and can be downloaded and used by anyone in any location, including concerts, movie theaters, sports events, and even school cafeterias.

Using a mobile device’s built-in microphone or an external microphone, the NIOSH SLM app measures occupational noise exposure the way professional measuring instruments do. For example, NIOSH SLM reports the sound level in different weighted decibels (the unit of measure for sound). In addition, the app can save and share measurement data. NIOSH recommends using an external, calibrated microphone with any sound level app to increase accuracy.

The NIOSH SLM also includes information on preventing hearing loss, examples of noise levels and their risks to hearing, and a searchable database of devices to protect your hearing.

To see the app’s features, watch this video(link is external).

For more information, please visit:

Source: https://www.noisyplanet.nidcd.nih.gov/have-you-heard/cdc-niosh-app

 

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October is National Protect Your Hearing Month

National Protect Your Hearing Month

Learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones from noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), and help spread the word about hearing health.

People of all ages can be affected by NIHL. Signs of NIHL may not be obvious at first, but they can build over time. A recent study shows that about 13 to 18 percent of children and teens ages 12 to 19 have signs of possible NIHL.

“Make healthy hearing a habit when you are young so that you can avoid NIHL. Exposure to loud sounds can have life-long consequences on your hearing, including making it difficult to communicate with others and to appreciate the sounds of nature and music,” says the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders’ acting director, Judith A. Cooper, Ph.D.

You can help prevent NIHL by making some simple changes to your lifestyle:

  • Turn down the volume. Set maximum volume limits on electronics and keep the volume low on music devices and TVs. Sounds at or above 85 A-weighted decibels put you at risk for NIHL, especially if they last a long time.
  • Move away from the noise. To reduce sound intensity and the impact of noise on your ears, increase the distance between you and the noise. Think of this simple step when you are near fireworks, concert speakers, or in a loud restaurant.
  • Wear hearing protectors, such as earplugs or earmuffs. Sometimes you can’t easily escape the sound, whether you’re at a movie theater, a concert, a sporting event, and in a noisy work environment. Earplugs or protective earmuffs can help. If you’re a parent, carry hearing protectors for your little ones and be a good hearing health role model by wearing them yourself. If you don’t have hearing protectors, cover your ears with your hands.

Source: https://www.noisyplanet.nidcd.nih.gov/have-you-heard/october-national-protect-your-hearing-month

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