Those who have been treated for hearing loss understand that it’s nothing to take for granted. They’ve experienced for themselves the difference better hearing makes in one’s quality of life.
With October designated as both National Audiology Awareness Month and National Protect Your Hearing Month, now is the ideal time to prioritize your hearing health. If you haven’t done so in the past, there are many reasons to take that first step toward better hearing experiences.
First, it’s important to understand that regardless of your age, you’re not alone when it comes to hearing loss. Consider the following:
- Approximately 36 million Americans experience some level of hearing loss
- Half of these cases occur in people under the age of 65.
- Three out of every 1,000 babies are born with hearing impairment.
- There are more males than females with hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Symptoms
Because of the gradual nature of most types of hearing loss, many people do not realize they have an impairment. You may need a hearing test if you experience the following:
- Regularly asking others to repeat themselves during conversations.
- Experiencing tinnitus – hearing a ringing, humming or buzzing sound in the ears.
- More difficulty understanding women and children than men.
- Trouble comprehending speech when the speaker is not facing you or in another room.
- Increasing the volume on your television or radio.
- Finding it challenging to hear in noisy environments.
What Causes Hearing Loss?
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is more common than hearing loss caused by the natural aging process. Because of increased exposure to loud noises – partially through the use of electronic devices – hearing loss is on the rise in younger generations.
It’s important to remember that sounds above 85 decibels can damage your hearing. NIHL is permanent and cumulative, but also preventable.
Other common causes of hearing impairment include:
- Certain medications (those damaging hearing are called “ototoxic”)
- Ear infections and disease
- Trauma to the ear or head
- Damage to the inner ear or eardrum
You can protect your hearing by following these tips:
- Become more aware of the sounds to which you’re often exposed that may be potentially damaging: lawnmowers, electronic devices, blow dryers, blenders, etc.
- When you’re unable to distance yourself from the source of loud sounds, take hearing protection products with you.
- When using personal listening devices, limit the volume and exposure: a good rule of thumb is the 60/60 rule: listen at no louder than 60% of the volume for 60 minutes at a time.
- Avoid putting objects other than protective devices in your ear.
If you suspect you or a loved one has hearing loss, or if you simply want to be proactive in protecting your hearing health, please schedule an appointment with us today.
Hearing Associates offers comprehensive diagnostic evaluations and solutions to fit your unique hearing needs. Our main office is located in Mason City, Iowa but we also have clinics in Britt, Hampton, Cresco, Iowa Falls, New Hampton, and Osage, as well as Albert Lea, Minnesota.