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Noise-induced hearing a problem for all ages

The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is offering a free prevention eGuide to help address the escalating problem on hearing loss.

"Noise-induced hearing loss is neither harmless nor restricted to old age," said Sergei Kochkin, Ph.D., BHI’s executive director. "And it’s permanent. Most people with hearing loss are still in the workforce. And we know from years of study that when left unaddressed, hearing loss can lead to depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, and lost earnings."

 

Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. And although it is almost entirely preventable, noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common occupational illnesses in the United States today. In fact, 10 million Americans have already suffered irreversible hearing damage from noise; and 30 to 50 million more are exposed to dangerous noise levels each day.

Noise-induced hearing loss tends to be a gradual, progressive loss of high frequency hearing due to repeated exposure to noise above 85 dBA over long periods – although loud explosions may cause immediate hearing loss.

The risk of noise-induced hearing loss depends on both the intensity and duration of the exposure; and as intensity increases, the length of time for which the exposure is "safe" decreases.

BHI invites individuals and employers to download free copies of "Your Guide to Prevention of Hearing Loss from Noise," by visiting www.betterhearing.org (under hearing loss prevention – noise-induced hearing loss.

BHI also offers a free, confidential online hearing check at www.hearingcheck.org to help people determine if they need a more comprehensive hearing test by a hearing healthcare professional.

"Unfortunately, most people only become passionate about their hearing once they’ve lost significant ability to hear," said Brian J. Fligor, ScD, Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and author of the brochure. “It’s this recognition and frustration over what they’ve lost that drives them to preserve what they still have.”

Dr. Fligor has worked with children and adults with hearing loss for more of his professional career, and has conducted research on the causes of noise-induced hearing loss. He recognizes how widespread the problem has become, and recognizes how even a mild hearing loss, when left untreated, can negatively affect virtually every aspect of a person’s life.

“What we want is for people to become passionate about preserving their hearing before it’s lost – because once it’s gone, it can’t be regained. This free eGuide gives people the information they need to protect their hearing. And it’s available to anyone."

The 12-page guide provides information on how we hear; how noise contributes to hearing loss and tinnitus (commonly known as "ringing in the ears"); the symptoms of noise-induced hearing loss; how to prevent noise-induced hearing loss, including a description of hearing loss prevention devices, occupations with the highest risk for noise-induced hearing loss; the risk of noise-induced hearing loss associated with several recreational and work-related activities; and additional resources.

Founded in 1973, the Better Hearing Institute conducts research and engages in hearing health education with the goal of helping people with hearing loss benefit from proper treatment.

For more information on hearing loss, see www.betterhearing.org.  To take the BHI Quick Hearing Check, see www.hearingcheck.org.

To participate in the discussion forum, see www.betterhearing.org, click on "Discussion Forum," and go to "Welcome!" to register.


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