Bringing Hearing To The Children Of Lesotho
(Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Can you hear me now? Chances are you can’t. At least not as well as you could hear at one time in your life.

According to studies by the U.S. Center for Disease Control, it seems the world around us is getting louder.

All the advancements in the past few years seem to be contributing factors in hearing loss beginning around age 20.

Leaf blowers, ear buds, headphones, lawn mowers, snow blowers, rock concerts, and action movies in the theater all contribute to our hearing loss.

Yet, most Americans when asked said they didn’t think they were exposed to excessive noise at work but they too showed some hearing loss when tested.

Twenty-five percent of people who claim to have perfect hearing actually have some hearing loss.

It’s the third most commonly chronic health condition reported to the CDC. In fact, it ranks higher than reports of diabetes or cancer.

Some of the CDC Findings

The report found:

  • About 53 percent of adults with noise-induced hearing damage reported no job exposure to loud sounds. This damage—shown by a distinctive drop in the ability to hear high-pitched sounds—appeared as early as age 20.
  • Almost one in four adults ages 20 to 69 who reported good to excellent hearing already have some hearing loss.
  • Almost 1 in 5 adults who reported no job exposure to noise showed hearing damage indicative of noise exposure.
  • The presence of hearing loss increased with age, from about 1 in 5 (19%) among young adults ages 20-29 to more than 1 in 4 (27%) among adults ages 50-59.
  • Hearing loss is more common among men and people over the age of 40 years.

“Older people are more likely to have hearing loss, but this study finds some young adults are already losing some hearing, so this is a concern for all age groups,” Dr. Schuchat said. “Asking patients about their hearing, and providing tips for reducing exposure to loud noises, can help our patients preserve their hearing longer."

Some Final Thoughts

Is Bozeman louder than it was a few years ago? There’s more traffic, more people in restaurants and bars. Louder trucks, louder car radios.

I’m sure you’ve sat next to a car with a booming sound system at some point.

I wear headphones 3 hours a day 6 days a week. Is that taking a toll on my hearing?

I haven’t turned the volume up since I started. I set it and forget it.

I do realize I have some hearing loss because I played in a band for about 6 years and bars and halls can get loud.

Movies are loud enough that they’re uncomfortable for my wife and me to attend any longer. We’ll watch at home on CD or online where we can control the volume.

The Eagles concert we attended last year while loud was much more subdued than the last movie we saw in the theater.

Perhaps we all need to start wearing earplugs in our daily lives. If not, I guess the time will come when we don’t need them.

Can you hear me now? Comments below.

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