Many people seem to simply accept that hearing loss is “normal” as you age. Presbycusis is the most common form of sensorineural hearing loss, which can be caused naturally as your auditory system ages. It is a gradual onset hearing loss, and can often go unnoticed for a while.
However, it’s not only the elderly who are at risk of hearing loss. Nobody should take their hearing health for granted. Statistics show that anybody can be impacted by hearing loss:
- 15% of all American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over report some trouble hearing.
- Only 35% of people diagnosed with hearing loss are older than age 64.
- 14.6% of baby boomers (ages 41-62), have a hearing problem.
- 7.4% of Generation Xers (ages 29-43) have a hearing loss
- At least 1.4 million children or 5 in every 1000 (18 or younger) have hearing problems.
Reducing the Risks of Hearing Loss
You can protect your hearing, if you’re aware of the risks and symptoms of hearing loss.
One of the more common causes of hearing loss in the younger generations, is prolonged exposure to loud noises – most commonly music enjoyed through headphones. But did you know:
- The NIDCD suggests that at least 10 million adults in the U.S. under age 70 may have Noise induced hearing loss.
- The WHO warned that 1.1 billion young adults are at risk for developing hearing loss, due to increased use of headphones and attending loud music festivals.
- The CDC found that at least 12.5% of children aged 6 to 19 have suffered permanent damage to their hearing due to excessive noise exposure.
Day to day loud activities can have an impact on hearing loss. These can include machinery, a noisy workplace, playing in a band, motorcycling and more. Knowing the risks of these noisy environments, take measures to protect your hearing by:
- Wearing ear defenders or ear plugs
- Take regular breaks, or auditory detoxes. Even 15 minutes in a quiet environment can be enough!
- Turn the volume down, or avoid prolonged listening to loud music
- Purchase noise cancelling headphones. These can eliminate background noises and help you enjoy your music at lower volumes.
Adults 45 and over are recommended to have annual hearing screenings. Those younger than 45 are recommended to have bi-annual hearing screenings, to increase the chances of catching any changes to your hearing ability early. This also helps maximize the impact that treatment will have.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s only noise that can threaten your hearing. Lifestyle factors can also play a role. Smoking, excess weight and alcohol consumption can increase your chances of hearing loss by restricting blood flow to the ears. This can result in long term damage or contribute to cardiovascular disease, which increases chances of hearing damage.
A healthy combination of a diet full in natural nutrients and vitamins, alongside the use of apps that help to monitor the volume of your surroundings can go a long way in helping to prevent hearing loss. Want to learn more? Call us today on (507) 208-7002 or Request an Appointment now.