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More than 10 million people in America use hearing aids, and that number isgrowing every day. Even more surprising is that approximately 20percent of these people are younger than 50.

Long considered a dilemma only for senior citizens, hearing loss isbecoming more and more common, particularly in young adults. Thismay be due in large part to the onslaught of noisy products andsituations brought on by modern day life. The constant barrage ofdecibels we encounter in today’s busy landscape, from street noiseto mp3 players, is taking a toll on our hearing at a youngerage.

While some children use hearing aids to correct childhood orlife-long health issues, many of the hearing problems audiologistsare seeing today are largely preventable. Do you fit the profilefor someone susceptible to early hearing loss?

Urbanites – People who live or work in urban areas are far morelikely to be exposed to high-decibel sounds on a regular basis.Studies have found that anything over 85 decibels can permanentlydamage hearing. A functioning jackhammer can produce up to 115decibels of sound while a car horn can produce up to 110 decibels,putting those living near these nuisances at increased risk.

Music fans – Adults as young as 20 are being treated fornon-illness related hearing loss, much of which audiologistsattribute to increased headphone use and loud concerts. Thepowerful speakers and mp3 players on the market today can produceup to 150 decibels of sound, enough to permanently damage delicateear tissues. Take caution when using ear bud headphones and be sureto wear earplugs if you plan to be exposed to loud music for anextended period of time.

SCUBA divers – This “extreme” sport, growing rapidly inpopularity among people of all ages, is responsible for someoccurrences of torn or ruptured ear canals in adults. The pressurebuild-up experienced during a dive can easily wreak havoc onfragile ear muscles and membranes, causing irreparable damage. Thisdamage frequently results in hearing loss, so be sure to usecorrect pressure-relieving methods and specially designed SCUBAearplugs when diving.

Medication – Certain medications, including some antibiotics andanti-inflammatory drugs, have been linked to increased risk ofhearing loss. As children are particularly vulnerable to diseasesrequiring treatment using these types of medications, they are moreprone to these ototoxic reactions. Be sure to speak to your doctorabout what side effects the medicines you or your children aretaking may potentially have, as this is a rare but preventablecause of premature hearing loss.

Despite the statistics, some people find it hard to believe thatchildren as young as 5 years of age may need a hearing device orhearing-related surgery. While there are several different optionsfor the hearing impaired, including cochlear implants or hearingtherapy, many find relief through the use of hearing aid. Digitaltechnology advancements in the past decades have made hearing aidsfar more reliable and undetectable than ever before, and manypeople find that their health insurance covers some or all of thecost. If you or your child is showing symptoms of early hearingloss, speak with an audiologist immediately to determine what stepsyou can take now to minimize the dangers.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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