Unfortunately, like a lot of things that are retro, hearing loss is making a comeback. Once found primarily in the domain of those that worked in factories and construction, we are seeing hearing loss come roaring back in younger populations.
According to the World Health Organization:
"Some 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events, according to WHO. Hearing loss has potentially devastating consequences for physical and mental health, education and employment."
In addition, after 16 years of war, our military is increasingly dealing with the negative affects of hearing loss and thee Department of Veterans Affairs ranks hearing loss as the number one disability among vets.
"Some 60 percent of returning military from Iraq and Afghanistan have acquired hearing loss or tinnitus due to noise exposure during service. According to the U.S. Department of Defense Hearing Center of Excellence (HCE), the numbers for those injured in the global war on terror effort are more than 350,000 service members with tinnitus and over 250,000 with hearing loss."
As we see younger individuals with hearing loss, it is becoming increasingly important in our society that we work to not only educate ourselves about hearing loss, and have our hearing regularly checked, but that we also take measures to protect our hearing from damage.
Below are some guidelines to help protect one's hearing.
1) Keep your distance - sound decreases the more you distance yourself from the sound source.
2) Be mindful of how long you are being exposed to the loud sounds.
3) Consider wearing hearing protection.
While doing activities with loud noise, protect your hearing so you don't risk losing your own independence in the form of experiencing the side effects of hearing loss.
These tips also work great for other situations involving loud sounds including firearms use, machinery, loud tools and other recreational activities.
Click here for an Additional Resource for Hearing Conservation.
Noise Level Chart