Hearing Loss — The Forgotten Problem

This week I share a school project written by my son. The assignment was to write about a cause that is important to you and then deliver a speech about it to the class. He is in 7th grade. While not every detail is perfect in his talk, his experience growing up with a mom who has hearing loss shines through in bright detail. I am so proud of his efforts to raise awareness about hearing loss and love his suggestions for how his peers can help. 

I share his speech below, lightly edited.

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The Joys of Noise-Cancelling Headphones

I am proud to share my hearing loss story and tips on Hearing Tracker

I love to travel, attend concerts, and live sporting events, but as my hearing loss has worsened, I have become more sensitive to loud sounds. More frequently, the aftermath of a plane flight or visit to a stadium was a long bout of tinnitus and sometimes, even vertigo. It just wasn’t worth it, until I discovered noise-cancelling headphones. I wear them almost everywhere now — on airplanes, at the movies and of course at any concert or loud stadium. Not only do they protect my hearing in the moment, they prevent days of pain and annoyance afterwards.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

I first started using noise-cancelling headphones on plane rides. The white noise of an airplane engine can be easy to ignore, but one day I decided to measure it on my iPhone decibel reader. I was amazed to see how loud it actually is! Noise levels ranged from 80 decibels up to 90 decibels on the plane, an unsafe listening level. The rule of thumb is that prolonged exposure to any noise at or above 85 decibels can cause gradual hearing loss, and this hearing loss is permanent.

After that flight, I purchased a high quality pair of noise-cancelling headphones and now wear them every time I travel on an airplane. I also don them on long bus and train rides to block out the rhythmic sounds of the world passing by. Rhythmic sounds, even if they are not that loud, can sometimes trigger my tinnitus.

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When Wearing Earplugs Turned Out To Be Cool

He had on his new suit and shiny shoes. The card and gift were packed, and so were the earplugs. He was heading out the door to his first fancy school party. For weeks we had discussed the appropriate outfit to wear and the fact that he would need to use earplugs when the band played. Given my genetic hearing loss, I won’t take any chances with my children damaging their hearing. They need to have as much of their own hearing left in case problems arise later through no fault of their own.

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How To Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss In 3 Easy Steps

I am proud to share my hearing loss story and tips on Mango Health

About 50 million people in the United States have hearing loss. This includes 1 in 5 teenagers and 60% of returning veterans from foreign wars. But noise-induced hearing loss is 100% preventable. Hearing health advocate Shari Eberts recommends three simple steps to protect your own ears as well as those of your loved ones.

Living With Hearing Loss | A Hearing Loss Blog

Noise-induced hearing loss is a pervasive problem, and one that is spreading due to increasing noise pollution. This isn’t only in cities, but also in small towns, too. At our restaurants, sporting events, and concert halls. Even at our schools. I was horrified to clock my daughter’s elementary school talent show at 90 decibels a few years ago, well above safe listening levels.

A 2011-2012 CDC study found that 24 percent of adults (aged 20-69) in the United States may have some degree of noise-induced hearing loss. Researchers also estimate as many as 17% of teens (aged 12-19) may have noise-induced hearing loss in one or both ears. It is a growing problem, and one that deserves our attention.

The good news is that most noise-induced hearing loss is 100% preventable. Here are three safety precautions I recommend for you and your loved ones:

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Hearing Loss And Loud Sounds Are A Bad Combination

“Welcome to Old Lahaina Luau. Have you visited with us before?” the hostess asked as she led us to our table. “Yes, a few years ago,” my husband replied. “Well, you will notice a big difference. “We just installed a new sound and light system which should really enhance your experience,” she told us. “Super,” my family said in unison.

Except for me. I started digging around in my purse for extra earplugs. Sound systems are only heading in one direction and that is louder! I figured we were going to need them.

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