May is Better SPEECH and Hearing Month
By Capt. Jennifer Carey, 374th Aerospace Medicine Squadron
/ Published May 17, 2007
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- May is Better Speech and Hearing Month. During this month the 374th Medical Group staff is raising Yokota's awareness of the impact of hearing and hearing loss by sharing a few facts.
Childhood Hearing Loss:
- The vast majority of hospitals now offer newborn hearing screening before discharge from the hospital.
- All children should be screened for hearing loss before 1 month of age.
- 85 percent of all children experience at least one ear infection.
- Second-hand smoke in the home increases the risk of middle ear infections and respiratory allergies in children.
- Federal laws mandate that all school districts must provide specialized education to children with hearing loss.
- Even a mild hearing loss can seriously impact a child's ability to learn in a school environment.
- Excessive noise is the number one reason for hearing loss.
- Experts agree that continued exposure to noise of 85 decibels, (dB) or louder, over time, will eventually harm hearing.
-If you cannot carry on a conversation in the presence of noise, it is too loud for your ears and can potentially cause hearing loss.
- One in four workers exposed to high levels of noise will develop a hearing loss.
- Professions at risk of hearing loss include firefighters, police officers, factory workers, farmers, construction workers, military personnel, heavy industry workers, musicians and entertainment industry professionals.
Hearing Loss Prevention:
- Hearing loss can be prevented by using ear plugs or earmuffs when engaging in activities around excessive noise (i.e. construction, flightline, shooting a gun).
- If you have pain, ringing or buzzing in the ears after leaving a noisy area immediately after exposure to noise consider this as a warning sign that the sounds are too loud.
- Examples of dangerously loud recreational activities which may cause hearing loss are: video arcades - (110 dB), live music concerts - (120 dB and above), movie theatres - (118 dB), health clubs and aerobic studios (120 dB), sporting events (127 dB) and motorcycles - (95-120 dB).
Hearing Loss Solutions:
- The vast majority of Americans with hearing loss have their hearing loss treated with hearing aids.
- Only five percent of hearing loss in adults can be improved through medical or surgical treatment.
- Modern directional hearing aids can now help the hard-of-hearing to hear in noisy situations.
- One of the key determinants of success with hearing aids is realistic expectations. Successful treatment of hearing loss with hearing aids is associated with greater earning power.
- Treatment of hearing loss will improve interpersonal relationships.
- Hard-of-hearing people are less likely to be discriminated against if they use hearing aids.
- The use of hearing aids is associated with reductions in anger, frustration, paranoia, anxiety and overall improvements in emotional stability.
- Most people who use hearing aids have improved social lives.
- The use of hearing aids is associated with improved perceptions of the hard-of-hearing's mental ability.
- People who use hearing aids report better health than hard-of-hearing people who do not use hearing aids.
Prevalence of Hearing
Loss and Demographics:
- 1 out of 10 Americans have a hearing loss -- that's more than 31 million people. Three out of 1,000 children are born with hearing loss.
- About 1.4 million children have hearing loss. Fifteen percent of "baby-boomers" (ages 45-64) have hearing loss.
- Twenty nine percent of people over age 65 have hearing loss.
- The majority of people with hearing loss are below retirement age.
- The majority of people with hearing loss are males.