Hearing Loss Overview
Hearing loss is the third most common physical condition in the United States, following heart disease and diabetes respectively.
of the population or 48 million Americans are affected.
The rate of hearing loss rises within older populations of Americans, with one in three people over 65 experiencing some degree of hearing loss, and 50% of people over 75 experiencing some degree of hearing loss.
In the workforce, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that 60% of people experience some degree of hearing loss. Similarly, 60% of veterans returning from combat zones report incidents of hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing of the ears).
In recent years, the rate of hearing loss has grown in younger populations due to the ubiquity of earbuds and personal electronic devices. Hearing loss has often been linked with age but is also a product of exposure to noise over an extended period of time.
Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is an invisible condition, making it difficult to recognize immediately.
Causes of Hearing Loss
There are three types of hearing loss, with corresponding causes.
How to Protect Yourself from Hearing Loss
Presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, is a natural occurrence as we age. In cases where hearing loss is caused by hereditary conditions, there is little we can do in terms of prevention.
However, hearing loss may be prevented in other cases. Noise-induced hearing loss occurs when we are exposed to loud noises for periods. For people who work in industries such as construction, factory work, and even dentistry, noise exposure is a part of the job. As such, people should get custom ear protection to buffer these dangerous sounds.
Turning down the volume on music, movies, and other media will also help to protect your hearing. Trade your earbuds in for noise-canceling over-the-ear headphones, and listen to media at 60% of the volume. If you’re attending rock concerts or sporting events, custom ear protection or earplugs will help to protect your hearing.