New Year, Nice to Hear!

So you survived the holidays this year, but have told yourself 2013 is going to be the year that you get help in improving your hearing. Well, you are certainly not alone. Most people find the holidays a frustrating time because of the missed laughter of the grandchildren, avoidance of social situations, having to ask people to constantly repeat themselves, and so much more. In fact, research shows that there are around 35 million people in the United States suffering from hearing loss symptoms (from some sources that number is millions higher) and the number is said to be slowly increasing. If you find yourself among the statistics, or are unsure either way, 2013 and the New Year may be a perfect time to make a resolution for better hearing and to finally look into the correct path for you. Not every hearing aid or hearing solution will work for you, so individualized advice from a trusted audiologist or doctor is the best start. With hearing care today and the state of digital hearing aids, this will be a resolution sure to last for years to come and have a positive impact.

Sergei Kochkin, an American hearing expert, has completed several studies associated with hearing impaired Americans and their use of hearing aids. His 2008 survey found that there are indeed around 35 million Americans dealing with hearing impairments, or roughly 11.3% of this U.S. population. However, it was found that more than 25 million of these people did not have a hearing aid. Just 28.5% of hearing impaired Americans has hearing aids. Since a 2005 survey, the number of hearing impaired people in this country increased from 31.5 million to 35 million, a 9% increase in a time period with just 4.5% population growth.  聽覺中心 The future is serious when it comes to the number of hearing impaired Americans and although hearing aids have come a long way in scientific advances, there will still be too many people suffering from hearing loss with nothing done to assist them. According to one the 2005 MarkeTrak VII report, it is projected that the numbers of Americans with hearing loss will increase to 40 million by 2025 and 53 million by 2050. Solutions may be advancing, but so are the statistics and needs of our fellow Americans.

In our digital age and industrial workplaces, hearing loss is a common result for many Americans. Noisy U.S. work places are required to monitor the hearing of employees exposed to hazardous noise in accordance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Many people do not realize that there are annual audiograms for exposed workers. Employers must record work-related hearing loss situations when an employee’s hearing test shows a marked decrease in overall hearing. Our digital age also has impacted hearing. It is not uncommon to see people walking down the street with headphones or ear buds in place. But any audiologist will tell you it is imperative that everyone (young and old) think twice before turning the volume up too loud. Turning the volume too high on the headphones can actually damage the coating of the nerve cells in your ears, leading to temporary hearing loss or more serious, permanent damage. According to recent research, loud music through headphones on personal music players can create situations as dangerous as the noise levels of jet engines. Noise levels exceeding 110dB are known to cause hearing problems such as temporary hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). But just recently, cell damage has been observed, concerning doctors and scientists greatly. Nerve cells that carry electrical signals from the ears to the brain have a coating called the myelin sheath, which helps the electrical signals travel along the cell. High exposure to very loud noises, over 110dB, can eliminate the cells of this coating, causing issues with the electrical signals. As a result, the nerves can no longer transmit information from the ears to the brain, causing hearing loss.

 

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