October is National Audiology Awareness Month and National Protect Your Hearing Month, which makes it an excellent time to bring awareness an issue that affects approximately 36 million Americans. In fact, hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the United States,* half of all sufferers are under the age of 65** and a recent study*** has even shown that a shocking 1 in 5 teenagers suffers from hearing loss.
Many different factors can contribute to hearing loss aside from aging. Some causes include illness, use of certain medications, ear infection, or inner ear damage from a foreign object (like Q-tips). Prolonged noise exposure to louder volumes or brief exposure to excessive noise can also cause significant damage.
If you have healthy hearing, you can protect yourself from hearing damage. Wear protective devices like ear plugs in noisy situations and turn down the volume of music or the TV. Sounds over 85 decibels are typically "noisy." Normal conversations are ~ 60dB, while hair dryers, blenders and lawnmowers are ~90dB. Average concert, car racing and sporting event volumes stand around 110dB, and fireworks and gun shots are around 140dB****. Wear protection around higher volume levels like these, but aside from protective devices, always avoid putting anything in your ear.
If you think you are already experiencing hearing loss, it could be time to see a doctor. Do you always feel like people are mumbling, frequently find yourself asking people to repeat themselves, perhaps hear vowels clearly but have trouble making out consonants properly, or have difficulty during phone conversations? Have you had trouble understanding people in situations with a lot of background noise, or do you have an easier time understanding male than female voices (high frequency hearing loss)?
If any of the above symptoms apply to you, your next step should be to make an appointment with an audiologist. Or, if these symptoms apply to someone you know, encourage them to do the same. An audiologist is a hearing doctor – he or she can diagnose, evaluate and treat hearing problems. Some of their services include conducting hearing tests and prescribing and fitting hearing aids, like Lyric. They can let you know whether you do have hearing loss and work with you on a solution.
To learn more about Lyric as a hearing solution, request information online at: http://www.lyrichearing.com/what-is-lyric-hearing-aid/request-information. You can also use our website to find your local provider. Lyric providers not only have expertise in fitting Lyric, they also have experience diagnosing hearing problems.
To help raise awareness of hearing health this month, learn more about hearing loss and encourage loved ones to do the same. Visit: http://howsyourhearing.org/awareness.html to see what you can do. Happy National Audiology Awareness Month and National Protect Your Hearing Month!