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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How To Travel When You Have Hearing Loss

I recently traveled to Cuba as part of a people-to-people cultural exchange program organized by Insight Cuba. It was a magnificent trip full of art, beauty, learning, eye-opening experiences and Cuban cigars. I highly recommend a visit if you have the opportunity and interest.

Before the trip I was concerned that my hearing loss would make things more challenging. Accents and unfamiliar words in a new language are always difficult for me to follow. I promised myself that I would advocate for myself to optimize my chances for good communication, but that I would also manage my frustration if I was not able to hear everything. Much of traveling can be enjoyed by simply taking a look around, and that was my plan, barring any catastrophes.

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How To Survive A Public Restroom When You Have Hearing Loss

I have been flying a lot lately, which means plenty of time in airport bathrooms. Many have made huge strides in cleanliness and a large number are now more eco-friendly, but they have also gotten louder – dangerously so in some cases. 

If it is isn’t the deafening swoosh of the self-flushing toilets, it is the new high-speed hand dryers running perpetually. Both are high-pitched sounds, so for someone like me with relatively strong high-pitched hearing, the volumes are excruciating. What is a hearing aid wearing traveler to do? 

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Should You Be Worried About Your Children’s Hearing?

Can you hear your child’s music even though they are wearing headphones? Do they need to remove their earbuds to hear what you are saying to them? Are they listening to loud music for several hours a day? If one or more of these are true, your children could be damaging their hearing.

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