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The world is on the verge of a hearing loss epidemic. Some 360 million people live with disabling hearing loss worldwide and that number is growing. Young and older people are at risk. One in three older adults has hearing loss, and 1.1 billion young people are at risk for hearing loss around the world. Loud noises can cause permanent hearing loss. In addition to loud noises, the daily sounds of life play a role in the decline of the world’s hearing health: lawn mowers, recreational vehicles, power tools, and music are some of the culprits. Other causes of hearing loss include aging, and certain pharmaceuticals.
While hearing loss is largely preventable, nearly 70 percent of people never or seldom use noise protection. People with hearing loss often are unaware they have a problem. One in four adults in the U.S. who reported “excellent to good” hearing already have hearing damage.
Health professionals recommend avoiding loud noises, wearing hearing protection, and turning the volume down on loud music. Hearing health checks also should be part of routine health screenings.
Watch this session of Public Health Grand Rounds as experts discuss the problem of hearing loss, its causes, prevention strategies, and public health solutions. Learn about World Hearing Day, and the need for a global public health approach to overcome barriers to hearing loss.
Beyond the Data
- John Eichwald, MA
- Lead Health Scientist, Office of Science
National Center for Environmental Health, CDC
"Hearing Loss: Poorly Recognized but Often Preventable"
- Deanna Meinke, PhD
- Professor of Audiology and Speech-Language Sciences,
University of Northern Colorado
Co-Director, Dangerous Decibels®
"Child and Adolescent Hearing Health"
- William Murphy, PhD
- Research Physicist, Hearing Loss Prevention Team
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, CDC
"Hearing Health Among Adults"
- Shelly Chadha, MBBS, PhD
- Technical Officer, Prevention of Deafness and Hearing Loss
World Health Organization
"Hearing Health Across the Lifespan"
- John Iskander, MD, MPH
- Scientific Director
- Phoebe Thorpe, MD, MPH
- Deputy Scientific Director
- Susan Laird, MSN, RN
- Communications Director
Enjoyed this Presentation?
- Presentation Slide Deck [4.2MB, 76 pages, HTML]
- National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
- World Health Organization 2007. International classification of functioning, disability and health : children & youth version : ICF-CY.
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- Page last reviewed: February 28, 2018
- Page last updated: February 28, 2018
- Content source:
- Office of the Associate Director for Science
- Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication