A report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered that noise-induced hearing loss starts way earlier than we would expect. The results show that at fault is not noise exposure that some people may experience at work, but what we listen to our free time. Thus, be careful with those headphones.
Everything that go over or into our ears can be dangerous from our hearing and many young people have no idea that their hearing is already damaged.
CDC conducts periodically a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). From this survey, they analyzed hearing and audiometric data from 3,583 participants aged between 29 and 69. The data they used was collected in 2011 and 2012.
The audiometric data they collected showed high-frequency notches – dips in a decibel – versus frequency graphs that display the ability of the participants to hear standard frequencies. These dips are indicative of deterioration in a person’s hearing. They have been previously found to be induced by intense noise.
The results showed that 24.4 percent of these people had notches present in their graphs either for one or for both ears. Males appeared to be twice as likely to have notches as females, while older people were the most likely, since hearing loss intensifies with age.
However, the percentage of young people was not so low as expected. For example, 19.2 percent of the people aged between 20 and 29 had notches. Also, 20 percent of the people who reported not working with loud noises had hearing problems. Even those who described their hearing as excellent were reported as having notches.
The report is not meant to suggest that the Americans suddenly started experiencing more trouble with hearing. On the contrary, the researchers want to raise awareness on the fact that noise-induced hearing loss is a reality and people should be more careful.
CDC advises people to take care of their ears by keeping the volume levels low when using personal listening devices, keeping away from loud noise sources such as speakers, and using special hearing protection. They can also use special apps that measure the level of sound.
Also, they inform that sounds higher than 85 decibels can cause damage after several hours of exposure. However, you have to keep in mind that the louder the sound, the less it takes to cause damage. Therefore, take all the precaution measures and take care of your hearing.
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