October is National Audiology Awareness and National Protect Your Hearing Month. With that in mind, we’d like to offer some facts about hearing loss, its causes and symptoms and how to protect it from damage.

•    Approximately 36 million Americans suffer from hearing loss.
•    Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the U.S.
•    Three out of every 1,000 babies are born with hearing impairment.
•    There are more males than females with hearing loss.

Contrary to popular belief, noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is more common than hearing loss caused by the natural aging process. Because of increased exposure to loud noises, hearing loss is on the rise in younger generations. Sounds above 85 decibels can damage your hearing. NIHL is permanent, cumulative but also preventable. Following these simple tips will help you protect your hearing:

•    Become more aware of the sounds to which you’re often exposed that may be potentially damaging: lawn mowers, blow dryers, blenders.
•    When you’re unable to distance yourself from the source of loud sounds, take hearing protection products with you.
•    When using personal listening devices, limit the volume and exposure: a good rule of thumb is the 60/60 rule: listen at no louder than 60% of the volume for 60 minutes at a time.

Other common causes of hearing loss include:

•    Ear infections, trauma or disease.
•    Damage to the inner ear or ear drum.
•    Ototoxic medication.

The onset of hearing loss may be gradual and you may not even be aware of your impairment. Some common symptoms include:
•    Asking others to repeat themselves during conversations.
•    More difficulty understanding women and children than men.
•    Increasing the volume on your television or radio.
•    Finding it challenging to hear in noisy environments.

If you suspect you may be suffering from hearing loss…or if you want to prevent hearing loss, please schedule an appointment with us today. At Hearing Associates, we offer comprehensive diagnostic evaluations and solutions to fit your unique needs. Our main office is located in Mason City, Iowa but we have added clinics Albert Lea, Britt, Hampton, Cresco, Iowa Falls, New Hampton and Osage.