Friday, March 31, 2017

More Hearing Loss, Tinnitus in Coming Generations

This article has a lot of stats, but not a lot about prevention about the upcoming  demographic increase in hearing loss (emphasis mine)

Researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore predict that 44 million — or 15 percent of U.S. adults — will have some hearing loss by 2020. That will increase to 23 percent of all adults 20 and older by 2060....The rise in Americans with hearing loss will be especially pronounced among the 70 and older set. In 2020, 55 percent of all adults with hearing loss will be 70 or older. In 2060 — 67 percent.
Like eyesight, there is age-related hearing loss for which there is not a lot someone can do.  What people can do is for people to take common sense approaches to protecting their ears.  I see all sorts of activities every day which can lead to hearing loss (plus tinnitus) in later years:
  • Extremely loud music in the car - If I can hear your music through both your closed window and mine, you are putting too much pressure on your ears.  This goes double with loud concerts.  Go to Tinnitus Talk and just a brief browsing of people show dozens of young people who got permanent tinnitus or hearing problems after being at a loud concert.
  • Extremely loud musing with headphones - This more than anything is why there will be an upward trend in hearing problems for the next few decades.  Smartphons, ipods, tablets and the like have people with earphones in for days at a time.  I have sit next to people on airplanes where I can hear their music quite clearly - even though I have my own earphones on.  The key is to keep it at a reasonable level.
  • No use of ear protection around heavy equipment (including chain saws, lawn mowers, etc).  I am seeing better use by professional lawn crews (but not always).
  • No use of ear protection when hunting or shooting with friends.  Gun ranges require ear protection, but people on their often skip this.  Several people in Tinnitus Talk have "T" because they did not take gun safety (which includes ear protection) seriously.  Also, if you having a hunting dog, get him protection as well - they sell ear protection specifically for gun dogs.
  • Skipping the Dentist (who can often see signs of bruxism) - This is the one that got me.  The dentist noted I had early signs of bruxism, but then I didn't go back for two years.  If had gone back and she had noticed increased signs, she might have gotten me into a biteplate before my TMJ got further deteriorated.
I now carry earplugs with me for things like sporting events and surprise situations that I might find myself in, like being near heavy equipment.  Much hearing loss (and the tinnitus that comes with a lot of it) is preventable with some pretty easy precautions.