WASHINGTON, DC–The Better Hearing Institute (BHI) has published a free online eGuide to help address the escalating problem of hearing loss. The new 12-page e-guide, which debuted on August 23, explains to consumers how noise contributes to hearing loss and tinnitus and how to prevent noise-induced hearing loss.
Individuals and employers are invited to download copies of Your Guide to Prevention of Hearing Loss from Noise, by Brian J. Fligor, ScD, which is available on the BHI web site in the section on hearing loss prevention.
The non-profit foundation also offers a free, confidential online hearing check to help people determine if they need a hearing test by a hearing healthcare professional.
EXPERT ADVISES, DON’T WAIT TOO LONG
Fligor, who is on the faculty at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, has conducted research on the causes of noise-induced hearing loss. He knows full well how widespread the problem has become, and recognizes that even a mild hearing loss, if left untreated, can negatively affect virtually every aspect of a person’s life.
“Unfortunately,” he noted, “most people only become passionate about their hearing after they’ve lost significant ability to hear. It’s this recognition and frustration over what they’ve lost that drives them to preserve what they still have. What we want is for people to become passionate about preserving their hearing before it’s lost—because once it’s gone, it can’t be regained. This free eGuide gives people the information they need to protect their hearing.”
BHI points out that noise is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. And, although it is almost entirely preventable, noise-induced hearing loss is one of the most common occupational illnesses in the United States today. In fact, 10 million Americans have already suffered irreversible hearing damage from noise, and 30 to 50 million more are exposed to dangerous noise levels each day.
Noise-induced hearing loss tends to be a gradual, progressive loss of high-frequency hearing due to repeated exposure to noise above 85 dBA over long periods—although loud explosions may sometimes cause immediate hearing loss. The risk of noise-induced hearing loss depends on both the intensity and duration of the exposure; as intensity increases, the length of time for which the exposure is “safe” decreases.
The hearing loss prevention booklet is the eighth eGuide published by BHI. Others cover topics such as tinnitus, buying hearing aids, and finding financial assistance to buy hearing aids.