Are you missing out on the sounds of leaves crunching under your feet at Lovejoy Fountain Park, a crackling bonfire or the honking of birds overhead flying south for the winter? If so, there’s good news: October is Audiology Awareness Month, which means there’s no better time to do something about your hearing loss.
Statistics About Hearing Loss
If you experience hearing loss, you’re far from alone. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders compiled this list of statistics on the prevalence of hearing loss:
- Approximately two to three out of every 1,000 babies born in the U.S. have hearing loss in one or both ears
- Over 90% of deaf children are born to hearing parents.
- Around 15% of people over age 18 in the U.S. self-report some trouble hearing.
- One in eight people in the U.S. over the age of 12 has a diagnosed hearing loss.
- Men are nearly twice as likely to experience hearing loss than women among adults ages 20-69.
- Approximately 2% of adults ages 45 to 54 have disabling hearing loss. This number jumps to 8.5% for adults ages 55-64, 25% for those ages 65-74 and 50% for those over 75.
- Fewer than one in three adults over 70 who could benefit from hearing aids actually wears them.
- Roughly 10% of the population has experienced tinnitus in the last year.
Protect Your Hearing
While there’s little that can be done to prevent hearing loss caused by genetics or aging, there’s one type of hearing loss that is preventable: noise-induced hearing loss.
In order to understand noise-induced hearing loss, it’s important to understand how we hear. Within the inner ear are tiny hair cells called stereocilia, which convert soundwaves into electrical energy that the brain interprets as sound.
When dangerously loud sounds pass through the ears, it can damage or destroy the stereocilia, resulting in permanent sensorineural hearing loss. Any sound over 85 dB can cause this type of damage. For reference, this is about the volume of passing highway traffic or a busy café. To protect your hearing, you should always wear earplugs or earmuffs when participating in noisy activities.
For more information or to schedule an appointment for a hearing test, call Mt. Hood ENT today.