Hearing Loss Facts

Hearing Loss Facts

One-third of all people over the age of 60 have hearing loss.

Three out of every four people with hearing loss are 65 and older. Hearing loss is more common in women than men, and more common in Caucasians than African Americans. More than 26 million Americans have long-term problems with their hearing.

Over 30 million baby boomers (people born between 1945 and 1965) suffer from hearing loss and most don’t even know it! A baby born today has a 1 in 3 chance of developing some degree of hearing loss during its lifetime.

Types of hearing loss:

1. conductive hearing loss-which is usually caused by the outer ear problem such as ear infections or impacted wax, and sometimes due to structural problems such as a perforated eardrum.

2. sensorineural hearing loss – which is caused by damage to the inner ear where sound frequencies are received, processed, and sent to the brain, or the auditory nerve.

3. mixed hearing loss- which is a combination of both conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss:

This type of hearing loss may be caused by several factors such as noise exposure, Meniere’s disease, physical injury to the ear (e.g., skull fracture), ototoxic drugs, aging, and several other reasons.

When we speak about “noise” we usually refer to two things: The first is an unwanted sound in our environment and the second is a sound that may cause harm in terms of its intensity and time of exposure.

Both situations can lead to permanent damage depending on how long you are exposed and how much sound you are exposed to.

An Otologist (an ear specialist) may use one of the following tools to determine how much hearing loss a how loud the sound is is. You can find more information information about noise here.

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TheThe use of personal music players (PMPMPP) has increased exponentially in the past few years and it has become a common behavior to listen listen to them while commuting, during leisure time, or exercising.

causes of hearing impairment:

Exposure to noise for a long period may lead to permanent damage, and more than 1/3 of the world population aged between 12 and 35 is at risk, what we call here young people.

Many studies show that exposure to loud noise during the teenage years will affect hearing capacity in older age.

As we mentioned before:

the use of personal music players (PMPs) has increased exponentially over the past few years and it has become a common behavior to listen to them while commuting, during leisure time, or exercising.

CDC hearing loss:

One of the most important studies about this issue has been published by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). This study shows that almost 20% of Americans between 12 and 19 years old have permanent damage due to noise exposure. If we talk about young people these days, it is estimated that more than 1/3 of them will develop some degree of hearing loss as a result of their noisy environment , which includes among many things: music players, concerts, or clubs.

What is more worrying is that those with permanent damage may not notice it until they reach early adulthood, and it will affect both professional and personal life as well as relationships with other people.

For example, We all know how annoying it can be when someone’s cell phone rings in a movie theater or when somebody starts talking to us while we are trying to watch the concert (I am sure you know what I mean).

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These people may not hear properly even in quiet surroundings and may be misunderstood by others because of their social behavior. Furthermore, it is estimated that about 6 million young people between 6 and 19 years old listen to music at high volumes for an average of 8 hours per day. This means that these young people will limit their potential in terms of speech reception, language learning, and acquisition, among other things.

It has also been shown in multiple studies that children who are exposed to noisy environments tend to have poor reading comprehension, which may affect their social interactions.

Another fact that should be taken into account is the increasing trend of recreational activities being performed at high-level volumes, such as snowboarding or water sports among others.

The take-home message here is very clear:

The use of personal music players (PMPs) has increased exponentially over the past few years and it has become a common behavior to listen to them while commuting, during leisure time, or exercising. This might cause permanent damage due to noise exposure if precautions are not taken.

Hearing impairment disability:

The CDC says that 1 in 6 children aged between birth and 19 years old in the USA has a detectable level of hearing loss in at least one ear. The reasons for this increased prevalence are not yet determined but it is generally accepted that noise exposure, both from work and recreational activities, might be the main cause.

These figures rise to 3-6% in young adults aged between 12 and 35 years old, which is huge compared to the 1/3 of the population that will develop some degree of hearing loss due to noise exposure at an older age.

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The most important consequence for this group would be social isolation, which is an increasing concern nowadays with the technological advances we see around us every day.

Personal music players (PMPs) are also playing a role in this process because users tend to listen to them at high volumes. This could potentially lead to multiple problems within relationships, both personal and professional ones; since it may limit speech reception, language learning, and acquisition [8], among other things.

Noise-induced hearing loss facts:

What I found most interesting in these statistics is the fact that not only men are more likely to develop noise-induced hearing loss but it seems like they do it at earlier ages than women.

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is defined as a sensorineural impairment of the auditory system caused by exposure to excessive environmental noise. Current estimates show that about 15% of Americans between 18 and 70 years old may have NIHL, which is irreversible, progressive, and mainly due to occupational or recreational factors.

The main risk factors for this condition are age, gender, family history, and occupational history. This means that people with jobs where their safety depends on how well they can hear are more at risk. This is the case for farmers, factory workers, musicians, and security forces among others.

The most common damage seen in NIHL is an elevated threshold of hearing at certain frequencies which can cause a variety of psychoacoustic problems including tinnitus, hyperacusis, or distortion.

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