Hearing health professionals in New Jersey and across the country are urging local teens and young adults to take steps to prevent hearing loss, a condition that is becoming more common among young people.
One in five teens already has some hearing loss, in part due to the growing use of ear bud headphones to listen to music. Nationwide, more than 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, which can contribute to social isolation, lower earnings, and higher risk of falls.
Many Americans are unaware of the dangers of prolonged exposure to loud noises; according to a recent survey from ORC International and hi HealthInnovations. The survey, which polled 1,015 adults ages 18 and older, revealed that just 45 percent of Americans are aware of the prevalence of hearing loss among teens and young adults.
Dr. Sikka, UnitedHealthcare’s regional medical director in the Northeast region says there are many steps people can take to prevent and treat hearing loss. Some examples she sites include:
· Follow the 60-60 rule, which means limit the use of ear buds to 60 minutes at a time and at 60 percent of the music player’s maximum volume.
· Limit exposure to loud noises: People should limit their exposure to loud sounds, such as music, lawn mowers, or motorcycles, all of which can cause hearing loss. Exposure to noises of 100 decibels or more can result in hearing loss after as little as 15 minutes.
· Talk to your doctor and schedule a hearing test – There are common signs of hearing loss, such as turning up the volume on the TV or radio, having trouble hearing people on the phone, or difficulty with following conversations in noisy environments. If you notice any of these symptoms, talk with your physician and get a hearing test.
· Research custom-programmed hearing aids – Hearing aid technology has advanced. Hearing aids are now more comfortable, very tiny, and provide better sound quality. Some newer companies, including UnitedHealthcare sister company hi HealthInnovations, offer custom-programmed hearing aids for less than $1,000 per device – a savings of 60 percent or more compared to devices sold through traditional channels.
· Review your insurance plan – Some insurance plans, including employer-sponsored and Medicare Advantage plans from UnitedHealthcare, now cover some or all of the cost of hearing aids, helping to make treatment and support more affordable.
By taking care of your hearing health, you can reduce your risk of developing hearing loss. For people that have hearing loss, it is important to seek care to help reduce the serious health consequences associated with the condition. People who treat their hearing loss reported significant improvements in their relationships, well-being, mental health, and safety.
|Just 45 percent of Americans are aware of the prevalence of hearing loss among teens and young adults|