12 March 2008

Raising awareness of noise induced hearing loss

Noise induced hearing loss affects too many young people mainly due to noisy listening habits. A public educational campaign, "Turn it To the Left", calls for education and prevention to combat this entirely preventable scourge.

It is estimated that one in eight children suffers from hearing disorders induced by noise. Up to 5 million American children in the 6 to 18 year age group experience ringing in their ears and/or hearing loss due to excessive noise exposure, mainly from listening to loud music on MP3 players for long periods of time.

The ”Turn it To the Left" campaign was launched in 2007 by the American Academy of Audiology with the aim to educate and raise awareness among youngsters and their families about hearing loss induced by noise. The central message is that this kind of hearing loss is totally preventable.

“The only way to prevent noise-induced hearing loss is to turn the volume down- just turn the dial to the left, walk away, or use earplugs,” says Dr. Alison Grimes, audiologist and president of the American Academy of Audiology and head of the Audiology clinic at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.

Annual hearing test

Children or young adults rarely mention if they are having trouble with their hearing. The campaign demonstrates to teachers, educators and parents the need to be aware of signs of hearing loss.

A hearing test should be conducted once a year, but when there is a suspicion of a hearing loss, getting a hearing test immediately is of great importance. At young ages, hearing is essential for speech development, social interaction and learning skills.



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