Say what? Study finds widespread hearing loss among Americans

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: December 16th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

More Americans are finding that mom was right when she told them to turn down that rock ’n’ roll music blasting from their bedrooms.

According to researchers, more than twenty-nine million Americans might have at least some hearing loss, suggesting it affects more people than researchers previously thought.

Data from a national, cross-sectional study of more than fifty-seven-hundred people ages twenty to sixty-nine revealed that eight-and-a-half percent of twenty- to twenty-nine year olds reported some hearing loss.

The risk of developing hearing loss increased for people who smoked, exhibited cardiovascular risks and were exposed to noise. Men were also more than five times as likely as women to have hearing loss, while whites were seventy percent more likely than blacks to experience it.

Sounds at or above eighty-five decibels can damage your hearing. That includes everything from the sound of city traffic to the sound of a jet engine. Construction workers are often exposed to noise levels of one hundred decibels or greater on a regular basis.

Forget the loud concert… portable mp3 players might not seem as loud, but they can send up to one-hundred-twenty decibels roaring through your ears.

Prevention is key. Even one-time exposure to loud sounds such as a gun firing can damage your hearing permanently. Wearing protective earplugs or earmuffs will help protect you.

And you may want to think about turning the sound down a few notches on those iPods. After all, music doesn’t have to break the windows to rock.