May Is Better Hearing & Speech Month; Oklahoma-Based Audiologist Offers Simple Steps To Protect Your Hearing for a Lifetime

(Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – May 3, 2017) With more than half of Americans who experience noise-induced hearing loss not working in noisy jobs, the spotlight turns to what Americans are doing in their leisure time. May is Better Hearing & Speech Month—a time to assess lifestyle habits that may be contributing to hearing loss as well as schedule a hearing evaluation for anyone with concerns about their hearing.

About 40 million U.S. adults aged 20–69 years have noise-induced hearing loss, YES, you read that correctly…. age 20!  This is a form of hearing damage that results from exposure to loud noise and could be cumulative harm that developed from exposure over time, or it could occur from a one-time severe episode. Although some causes are preventable, once it occurs, it is irreversible. Far from simply being an annoyance, hearing loss can affect almost all aspects of life, including physical health, mental health, employment status and success, social functioning and satisfaction, and much more. Hearing loss can be treated through various technologies and techniques under the care of a certified audiologist, but hearing is never fully restored.

In addition to the dangers posed by listening to ear buds or headphones at too-loud volumes and for too long, noisy settings are commonplace in today’s society, including the Oklahoma City metro area. Many restaurants are specifically designed to elevate noise levels to make establishments feel more energetic. Similarly, some sports stadiums have been built with sound elevation in mind, thought to improve the fan’s experience and serve as a home-team advantage. Coffee shops, fitness classes and other businesses make modern society a collectively loud place.

“Although many people report concern about noisy environments, not nearly enough of us take protective steps,” said Oklahoma-based audiologist, Dr. Rachel Lamb.  She offers some simple ways that the people of the Oklahoma City metro area can take charge of their hearing health—this month and always:

  • Wear hearing protection. Earplugs and earmuffs are cheap, portable, and (with a good fit) offer excellent hearing protection. Take them along when you know you’ll be in a noisy setting. Better yet, keep them on you at all times! Oklahoma Hearing Center offers a service to create custom fitting ear plugs, if you would be interested.
  • Reduce exposure. Take steps to reduce your exposure to noisy settings. Visit noisy establishments during off times, consider quieter settings and talk to managers if you find the noise level uncomfortable.
  • See a certified audiologist for a hearing evaluation. A recent government report stated that 1 in 4 U.S. adults who report excellent to good hearing already have hearing damage. Many adults don’t routinely get their hearing checked and even those who are concerned often delay treatment for years. Postponing treatment can have serious medical and mental health repercussions in addition to reducing a person’s quality of life, so visit with a certified audiologist if you have any concerns.

“This advice about hearing protection goes for just about everyone, from the youngest of children to older adults, from those with excellent hearing who want to maintain it, to those who already have some hearing loss and don’t want to make it worse,” notes Dr. Lamb. “As a society, everyone needs to prioritize hearing protection.”

If you would like to schedule a hearing evaluation, contact Oklahoma Hearing Center at 405.604.4475 or visit  www.okhc.org.