Friday, 28 September 2018

Hearing Loss: Who cares?

A survey released today from the Merck Manuals found that 59 percent of Americans say they rarely think about hearing loss. At the same time, 86 percent of respondents say they have participated in noisy activities in the last 12 months. (PRNewsfoto/MerckManuals.com)Hearing loss is a common sensory disorder in the United States. Yet many people admit they don’t often think about hearing loss and are reluctant to use some of the most effective hearing loss prevention and treatment techniques. 

A survey released from the Merck Manuals—a medical resource first published in 1899—found that 59%of Americans say they rarely think about hearing loss, Merck announced. At the same time, 86% of respondents say they have participated in noisy activities in the last 12 months, including listening to audio through headphones or earbuds (58%); landscaping their home with a power mower, weed wacker, or leaf blower (42%); attending a live concert or event with a band/DJ (34%), or attending a professional sporting event (33%). 

These activities all have the potential to damage hearing, depending on the volume and duration of sound. The survey of more than 2,000 US adults was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of the Manuals in July 2018. Other key findings include: Nearly 9 out of 10 (86%) understand that hearing damage can happen even when something doesn’t “sound” too loud, yet just 64% say they try to take preventative measures to protect their hearing whenever possible. 

Nearly a third of Americans (32%) believe it is rare for adults to develop hearing loss at a young age. Younger adults aged 18-34 (43%) are twice as likely to believe this, compared to older adults aged 65+ (21%). Two-thirds of Americans (66%) recognize that if hearing loss runs in your family, you are more likely to be affected by it. Understanding the causes of hearing loss, along with effective ways to treat it, are crucial steps to limiting the extent to which hearing loss impacts communication and day-to-day life. 

In a recent editorial on MerckManuals.com, Dr Lawrence R. Lustig, an expert in hearing loss and treatment, explains that people must consider the length of exposure as well as the volume of the noise when identifying sound that could harm hearing. “Here’s a good rule of thumb—if you have to speak above your normal tone of voice to be heard, chances are your surroundings are too loud,” Lustig said. 

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