Hearing Loss can occur at any age. Though most commonly associated with the elderly, hearing loss has now been found in nearly ten percent of millennials and seventeen percent of Gen Z, so it’s plain to see hearing loss can impact anyone of any age. In fact, noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) can build over time. Recent studies show that about 13 to 18 percent of children and teens, ages 12 to 19, have signs of possible NIHL.
National Protect Your Hearing Month, also known as National Audiology Awareness Month, has been observed during the month of October since 2008 to educate folks on how to protect themselves from noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). This year the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) is focusing on educating young people about noise-induced hearing loss in order to help prevent it. According to a 2018 survey , more than 4 out of 5 American adults never, or very rarely, wear hearing protection at loud sports events or entertainment venues. Hearing loss from loud noise is permanent — and most people don’t notice their hearing is damaged until it’s too late. To help prevent NIHL, here are five simple lifestyle change tips that can have a big impact on the way you hear for the rest of your life:
When you know you’ll be around loud sounds, use earplugs. Disposable earplugs, made of foam or silicone, are often available at local pharmacies. They’re practical because you can still hear music and conversation when they’re in your ears. But when they fit snugly, they’re effective in adequately blocking out dangerously loud sounds.
Limit Your Time in Noisy Environments.
Do all you can to limit the length of time you spend in a noisy environment. When you do participate in noisy activities, alternate them with periods of quiet. And remember to use ear protection
Plug Your Ears and Walk Away.
If a loud noise takes you by surprise, quickly plug your ears with your fingers and quickly walk away. Increasing the distance between you and the source of the sound will help reduce the intensity (or decibels) at which the sound is reaching your ears.
Turn It Down.
When listening to smartphones and other electronics, keep them at a low volume. Importantly, limit your use of headphones and ear buds. Remember, it’s not just the volume that matters. It’s also the duration of time spent listening.
Get A Hearing Test.
If you have any reason to suspect hearing loss, visit a hearing healthcare professional to get your hearing tested.
By following these simple tips, you can protect your hearing for years to come!