Laura Burger performs a hearing test on a patient in a soundproof booth

Facts About Hearing Loss

Approximately 36 million Americans suffer from hearing loss.

  • More than half of the people with hearing loss are young­er than age 65.
  • Untreated hearing loss can affect your ability to under­stand speech and can negatively impact your social and emotional well-being — hearing impairment can decrease your quality of life!
  • Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the United States.

What causes hearing loss?

  • Exposure to excessive loud noise.
  • Ear infections, trauma, or ear disease.
  • Damage to the inner ear and ear drum from contact with a foreign object (cotton swabs, bobby pins, etc.) .
  • Illness or certain medications.
  • Deteriorating hearing due to the normal aging process.

Signs you may have hearing loss:

  • Difficulty hearing people talk in noisy environments
    such as a restaurant, shopping mall, in a car, or at the movie theater.
  • People seem to "mumble" all the time.
  • Family, friends, or colleagues often have to repeat
    themselves when speaking with you.
  • You have trouble hearing people when they are not
    facing you or are in another room.
  • You have trouble following conversations.
  • You have ringing, buzzing, or hissing sounds in your ears.

How to protect your hearing:

  • Wear hearing protection when around sounds louder than 85 dB for a long period of time. There are differ­ent types of hearing protection such as foam earplugs, earmuffs and custom hearing protection devices. Con­tact your local audiologist for custom hearing protec­tion devices.
  • Turn down the volume when listening to the radio, the TV, MP3 player, or anything through ear buds and headphones. (Visit
  • Walk away from the noise.
  • And, other than hearing protection, do not put any­thing in your ear!

Approximately 12% of all children ages 6-19 have noise-induced hearing loss!

  • Noise-induced hearing loss is permanent and is almost always preventable!
  • Hearing loss can happen at any age. A growing number of teens and kids are damaging their hearing by pro­longed exposure to loud noise.
  • Noise-induced hearing loss is caused by damage to the hair cells that are found in our inner ear. Hair cells are small sensory cells that convert the sounds we hear (sound energy) into electrical signals that travel to the brain. Once damaged our hair cells cannot grow back, causing permanent hearing loss.

Noise-induced hearing loss

This can be caused by prolonged exposure to any loud noise over 85 dB. The loudness of sound is measured in units called decibels (dB).

  • 60 dB—Normal conversations or dishwashers
  • 80 dB—Alarm clocks
  • 90 dB—Hair dryers, blenders, and lawnmowers
  • 100 dB—MP3 players at full volume
  • 110 dB—Concerts (any music genre), car racing, and􀀌 sporting events
  • 120 dB—Jet planes at take off
  • 130 dB—Ambulances and fire engine sirens
  • 140 dB—Gun shots, fireworks, and custom car stereos at full volume

How to protect your child's hearing:

  • Have your child wear the proper hearing protection (earmuffs or earplugs) when in noisy environments (concerts, sporting events, fireworks displays, car races). Hearing protection comes in a variety of sizes and textures to provide optimum fit. Custom-made earplugs can be obtained from an audiologist.
  • Teach your child to turn down the volume.
  • Teach your child to walk away from loud noise.

Childhood noise risks include

  • Noisy toys
  • Sporting events
  • Band class
  • Motorbikes
  • Farm equipment
  • Movie theaters
  • Shop class
  • Arcades
  • Concerts
  • Firearms
  • Firecrackers and fireworks
  • Power tools
  • MP3 players