Did you know that people of all ages can develop noise-induced hearing loss? Hearing loss from too much noise can happen in an instant or build over time, and it can’t be fixed. This October, during National Protect Your Hearing Month, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) encourages everyone to learn about noise-induced hearing loss, a preventable type of hearing loss.
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with support from the NIDCD, shows that based on certain features of their hearing test results, at least 10 million adults in the U.S. (6 percent of the population) under age 70—and perhaps as many as 40 million adults (24 percent)—may have hearing loss from noise in one or both ears. The good news is that you can take steps to protect your hearing:
- Move away from the noise. If you can’t lower the volume, put some distance between you and the source.
- Lower the volume. Know which noises can cause damage your hearing, such as listening to music at a high volume. While sound at or below 70 A-weighted decibels (dBA) is generally considered safe, sounds at or above 85 dBA can damage your hearing over time.
- Wear hearing protectors, such as earplugs or earmuffs, when involved in a loud activity. Activity-specific earplugs and earmuffs are available at hardware and sporting goods stores.
- Protect the ears of children who are too young to protect their own.
- Tell family, friends, and colleagues about noise hazards.
Spread the word this October on how to prevent noise-induced hearing loss! Resources you can use to educate yourself, your family, and your community include: