Since 2008, the American Academy of Audiology has sponsored October as Audiology Awareness Month. The effort is a way to enhance awareness about hearing health, especially the need to embrace hearing protection by those who are regularly exposed to noisy environments.
Now’s the time to think about whether you’ve noticed any changes in your hearing over the summer. If you’re over 60, it’s also a great time to schedule a hearing exam. Especially if you haven’t had one since who knows when?
Hearing loss is usually a slow-moving phenomenon. Unless you suffer an accident or a disease that damages your hearing, you are most likely to have had your hearing slowly degrade over the years, especially the high range of the sound spectrum. The process is so slow that it’s actually easy to compensate for without realizing it.
This is especially true if, over the years when working (construction, bartending, etc.) or having fun (concerts, four-wheeling, etc.), your ears have been subject to loud noise. The damage can accumulate and slowly make itself known later in life.
This is a really good reason, if you are younger, to start making ear protection part of your routine when going to a club or the shooting range. Any activity that produces a high-decibel environment is a long-term risk to your hearing. The fact is that hearing loss is becoming more common and an issue for more and more people earlier in life.
The rise of personal music devices and earbuds may be a contributing factor in this trend.
Use October to ponder your hearing and ways to protect it.