Ottawa, August 18, 2010 – A just-released study shows that one in five youth, 12-19 years, has some degree of hearing loss, a 30% increase from the previous survey 10 years earlier. Although the study recommends additional research to identify the spectrum of causes, noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) resulting from overexposure to loud noise is identified as one source.
The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA), alarmed by the increase in NIHL, urges Canadians and their governments to take action against this life-changing but preventable problem.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
, analyzed the 2005-2006 hearing tests of students in the 12 – 19 age bracket, and compared them to a similar survey of 1988-1994. The 30% spike in hearing loss cited in the study may actually be even worse today, with the explosion in the use of personal music players and cell phones, and health professionals say the study highlights the need to do more to protect children from the permanent effects of preventable hearing loss.
“And what this study doesn’t show”, says Louise Normand, CHHA’s National President, “is the overwhelming impact of hearing loss on the quality of life of Canadians.” Other studies show that even a small hearing loss can harm a child's school performance, language development and social interactions. Adults with hearing loss experience relationship and workplace challenges, with everyday activities also affected. Noise-induced hearing loss normally manifests itself in the adult years, by which time the problem is permanent and irreversible. The recourse at this point includes assistive technology such as hearing aids and communication strategies such as speechreading.
The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association recommends the following preventative steps to maintain good hearing and reduce the increasing prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss in our youth and adults.
1. Turn it down! The general rule of thumb is that if you can’t hear what your friend is saying to you when you’re listening to your MP3 player, it’s too loud. If you can hear what your friend is listening to on their mp3 player, it’s too loud.
2. Reevaluate your headphones. The use of earbuds increases the decibel level and potential hearing damage. Because they do not block out ambient noise, users tend to turn up the volume, increasing the sound intensity even more.
3. Limit exposure time. The louder it gets, the less time you can listen safely. Give your ears a break and reduce the amount of overall exposure to loud noise from your music, yard work, office and other noisy environments.
4. Wear hearing protection, such as earplugs, when doing yard work, at concerts and other noisy events.
The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association is the national voice for hard for hard of hearing people. Our goal is to educate individuals about hearing loss and to raise awareness of the needs of hard of hearing people. To learn more about the Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, and issues such as preventing noise-induced hearing loss, visit our website at http://www.chha.ca
or call Voice: 613-526-1584 TTY: 613-526-2692, Toll-Free: 1-800-263-8068 (In Canada Only). - 30 -