Did you know? About 360 million children and adults — more than 5 percent of the global population — have disabling hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization.
During Better Hearing Month, celebrated in May, we have the exciting opportunity to raise awareness of not only the prevalence of hearing loss, but what you can do about it. While most hearing loss can be treated with state-of-the-art hearing technology, there are simple steps you and your loved ones can take to help prevent some types of hearing impairment altogether. To celebrate 90 years of Better Hearing Month, here are five tips to help you and your loved ones take charge for better hearing every day.
1. Know the Signs
Frequently asking people to repeat themselves, turning up the TV, having difficulty understanding phone conversations, complaining about noise or earaches — these and other signs point to potential hearing loss. Detecting it early can reduce the risk of academic, social, physical, and other problems.
2. Curb Noise Exposure
About 40 million US adults aged 20-69 years have noise-induced hearing loss, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reducing exposure to sounds above 85 decibels, curbing use of MP3 players, and wearing earplugs even when mowing or using leaf blowers, snowblowers, and weedwackers can go a long way.
3. Partner With Your School
Teachers and administrators are critical to helping kids hear their best during the school day, with classroom seating arrangements, loop and FM systems, closed captioning, and other supportive options. They can also identify possible signs of hearing loss, such as decreased engagement and changes in grades or behaviors.
4. Keep Hearing Aids in Top Shape
If you or your loved ones are already hearing better through today’s advanced hearing technology, help keep the devices in their best shape with a professional clean and check. Also, keep extra batteries on hand at home and on the go.
5. Get a Hearing Checkup
Take the whole family for a professional hearing evaluation at least once a year, just as you would for their eyes or teeth. Timing the visits before summer camp or the new school year, for example, can help you catch any hearing difficulties before they affect your child’s learning and development.