Hearing Loss, the Underestimated Threat
Are you one of the people that have dealt with ringing in the ears, especially after being exposed to loud noise? Sometimes, you might not even recognize the noise was damaging until a great deal of time has passed. You may simply begin to notice you can’t hear your family and friends as well, or that they remark that you routinely ask for clarification.
The World Health Organization considers the threat of noise-induced hearing loss to be “underestimated”. The unfortunate truth is that it takes a long time for a lot of our patients to even realize they’re dealing with it. Noise-induced hearing loss is an undeniable problem. It’s also on the rise. This can be frustrating as the doctors at PHC have a unique understanding of how preventable this condition is.
Of course, we tend to see a lot of seniors in our line of work. We also typically treat industrial workers and musicians. However, hearing loss is not limited to these people. It is not simply limited to a specific age group.
In fact, 1 in 4 adults currently suffers from hearing loss. It’s something we typically associate with older age, ignoring troubling statistics proving that hearing loss also afflicts many children. Unfortunately, 34 of the 466 million people around the world contending with disabling hearing loss are in fact children.
This hearing loss affects the lives of these children every day. According to the CDC, it’s associated with disruptions in “speech, language comprehension, communication, classroom learning, and social development”. So, if your child is suffering from hearing loss, you may notice worsened school performance as a result.
A further 1.1 billion individuals between the ages of 12-35 years remain at risk of noise-induced hearing loss.
Luckily, 60% of this hearing loss is preventable!
A Louder World Than We Think
A writer for Vox—Julia Belluz—began measuring the noise around her. She found it to regularly be at least 85 decibels, loud enough to damage our hearing.
And, she found these excessive noise levels to occur normally while simply engaging in routine activities such as attending an exercise class, eating in a restaurant, or on a metro ride.
Noise-induced hearing loss also occurs when individuals are regularly exposed to loud music, an increasingly common occurrence with the ubiquity of earbuds and music streaming. Concerts are also culprits.
This means it’s up to us parents to monitor for hearing loss and educate our children on the dangers of listening to loud music.
Remember, noise-induced hearing loss can be prevented. It can be prevented by avoiding loud noises, listening to music more quietly, leaving areas with loud noises and protecting one’s hearing with things such as earplugs or muffs.
It’s also important that individuals receive regular hearing tests. This is especially crucial for those above the age of 40 as this can help them—and us doctors—catch hearing loss in its early stages.
We also have hearing aids for those that have already sustained some level of hearing loss. These include custom hearing aids that are made to fit your unique ear. These hearing aids have the added benefit of looking pretty attractive, as this tends to be a big concern for those that might need to use them.
Physicians Hearing Care operates five offices in the East Tennessee area, ensuring affordable health care for anyone that might be worried about the health of their ears.
We encourage individuals of all ages to prioritize their ear health. It can prove to be one of the greatest investments you can make for a healthy future.
Contact us for advice or treatment today.
Dr. Kalyn Bradford is the Director of Hearing Aid Services here at Physician’s Hearing Care. She completed her externship with Physician’s Hearing Care in 2013 and subsequently joined the practice in 2014 after graduating with her doctoral degree in audiology from Louisiana Tech University. She joined PHC as a Clinical Audiologist where she performed comprehensive audiological exams and specialized in helping patients to hear better using the latest hearing aid technology available. She has carried that experience into her current role as Director of Hearing Aid Services, where she does an excellent job managing the Audiologists to ensure that all patients are treated with the best hearing care possible.