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About 40 million people have noise-related hearing loss from exposure to noise that is too loud for too long a time. And the growing popularity of earbuds and headphones isn’t helping.
The good news is that hearing loss from noise is preventable.
About one-quarter of adults age 20 to 69 have noise-related hearing loss, or about 40 million people, according to a study from the National Institutes of Health.
Damage to the hairs and nerve cells inside the ear cause hearing loss. Damage can come from long-term exposure to loud noises or from a short blast of noise like a gunshot. Some situations that can lead to hearing loss include:
In addition to loud noise, causes of hearing loss include:
Avoiding high risk situations and using ear protection are the keys to preventing hearing loss from noise.
Five ways to start protecting your hearing:
How much noise affects your hearing depends on how loud it is and how long it lasts. Avoiding noisy situations is best. If you can’t, using hearing protection can help. Find some good ear plugs or over-the-ear hearing protection.
If you think you may already have some hearing loss, check these 10 Signs of Hearing Loss. Talk to your doctor if you have any of these symptoms or if trouble hearing is causing problems in your life. Your doctor or a hearing specialist may be able to help.
In general, if you need to shout to be heard, it’s too loud. Find out how loud different sounds are with this audio infographic from the CDC.
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