ATLANTA — A study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that a substantial number of Americans have hearing loss, despite often being unaware of it.
Using data from the 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which examined over 3,500 American adults, researchers encountered some unexpected findings.
For example, 20% of people who said they weren’t exposed to significant job-related noise still showed symptoms suggesting some sort of workplace-induced hearing damage.
To further suggest that many adults are oblivious to any acquired hearing damage, nearly 25% of adults — defined in this case as anyone between the ages of 20 and 69 — reported that they felt that they had “good to excellent hearing,” yet demonstrated the loss of hearing ability.
The study also found that the incidence of hearing loss increased with age; only 19% of young adults, ages 20 to 29, showed signs of hearing loss, while 27% of older adults, ages 50 to 59, demonstrated the same auditory deficiencies.
Overall, the researchers found two demographics that were the most likely to have sustained hearing damage: men, and individuals over 40 years of age.
“Older people are more likely to have hearing loss, but this study finds some young adults are already losing some hearing,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s Acting Director, said in a release. “Asking patients about their hearing, and providing tips for reducing exposure to loud noises, can help our patients preserve their hearing longer.”
To prevent hearing loss, the CDC recommends avoiding noisy places whenever possible, using earplugs or earmuffs when loud noises can’t be avoided, turning down the volume when watching TV or listening to music, and getting regular hearing checkups from your doctor.
Too late for me, but ear and hearing protection should become just as important as wearing sunglasses and eye protection