Free Prevention eGuide Addresses Urgency of Preserving Hearing Health

 

The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is offering a free prevention eGuide to help address the escalating problem of hearing loss at a time when people are both experiencing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) at younger ages and staying in the workforce longer.

BHI invites individuals and employers to download free copies of "Your Guide to Prevention of Hearing Loss from Noise," by Brian J. Fligor, ScD, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, by visiting www.betterhearing.org (under hearing loss prevention - noise induced hearing loss). BHI also offers a free, confidential online hearing check at www.hearingcheck.org to help people determine if they need a more comprehensive hearing test by a hearing healthcare professional.

"Noise-induced hearing loss is neither harmless nor restricted to old age," says Sergei Kochkin, PhD, BHI's Executive Director. "And it's permanent. Most people with hearing loss are still in the workforce. And we know from years of study that when left unaddressed, hearing loss can lead to depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, and lost earnings."

Noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. And although it is almost entirely preventable, noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common occupational illnesses in the United States today. In fact, 10 million Americans have already suffered irreversible hearing damage from noise; and 30 to 50 million more are exposed to dangerous noise levels each day.

Noise-induced hearing loss tends to be a gradual, progressive loss of high frequency hearing due to repeated exposure to noise above 85 dBA over long periods—although loud explosions may cause immedi­ate hearing loss. The risk of noise-induced hearing loss depends on both the intensity and duration of the exposure; and as intensity increases, the length of time for which the exposure is "safe" decreases.

For more of his professional career, Dr. Fligor has worked with children and adults with hearing loss and has conducted research on the causes of noise-induced hearing loss. He recognizes how widespread the problem has become. He also recognizes how even a mild hearing loss, when left untreated, can negatively affect virtually every aspect of a person's life.

"Unfortunately, most people only become passionate about their hearing once they've lost significant ability to hear," Fligor explains. "It's this recognition and frustration over what they've lost that drives them to preserve what they still have. What we want is for people to become passionate about preserving their hearing before it's lost—because once it's gone, it can't be regained. This free eGuide gives people the information they need to protect their hearing. And it's available to anyone."