CDC: Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Often Goes Unrecognized

The noise of modern life can cause permanent hearing damage to many U.S. adults who don't even suspect they've experienced a loss

HealthDay News — The noise of modern life causes permanent hearing damage to many U.S. adults who don’t even suspect they’ve experienced a loss, according to research published in the February 7 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC researchers analyzed 3,583 hearing tests conducted on adult participants in the 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. 

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One in four adults who believes his or her hearing is good or excellent actually has hearing damage, the CDC found. About one in five (19%) of young adults 20 to 29 had hearing loss, compared with more than one in four (27%) of adults 50 to 59. About 53% of adults with noise-induced hearing damage reported no exposure to loud sounds while on the job, according to the study. However, the researchers found that one in five people who reported no job-related noise exposure had hearing damage in a pattern that’s typically caused by noise.

“About 20 million American adults have hearing damage indicative of noise exposure that probably comes from everyday activities in their home and community,” Anne Schuchat, MD, acting CDC director, said during a midday news briefing. “People may not realize these kinds of exposures can cause permanent damage.”

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