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CDC Says 24% of Adults Have Hearing Loss And Most Don't Even Know It

Mar 01, 2017 CDC Says 24% of Adults Have Hearing Loss And Most Don't Even Know It

Excessive noise exposure is damaging the hearing of nearly 1 in 4 adults, and while they report having good or excellent hearing, they are showing signs of hearing loss.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) ​reports that 24% of American adults have hearing loss due to noise. Excessive noise exposure is damaging the hearing of nearly 1 in 4 adults before it is detected or diagnosed, and therefore goes unrecognized and untreated.

Untreated hearing loss can lead to depression, social isolation, anxiety, and early onset of dementia.

Most Reported Good Hearing

Even though the majority of the individuals suffering from hearing loss reported having good or excellent hearing, a quarter of Americans ages 20 to 69 suffer from deficits or deterioration in the ability to hear soft sounds due to excessive exposure to loud sounds.

Most Reported No Excessive Exposure

A more surprising finding in this study was that 53% of those people reported no regular exposure to excessive noise, which means the hearing loss may be caused by environmental factors where people don’t recognize the dangers, such as listening to music through headphones with the volume too high.

Damage Caused By Excessive Volume and Length of Exposure

The federal government has no regulation on exposure to noise outside the workplace, but the EPA recommends limiting exposure to no more than eight hours of intermittent noise at 75 decibels (dB). Hearing damage can result from the combination of excessive volume and length of exposure.

The use of noise protection earplugs during exposure to loud noise is recommended.

Physicians Urged to Monitor Hearing

The CDC urges primary care physicians to routinely ask patients about their hearing status and noise exposure, and to recommend hearing evaluations to monitor any deficits and mitigate further deterioration.


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