by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
This report from Purdue University highlights research done there with the University of Rochester that shows noise-induced hearing loss has worse effects on hearing than hearing loss caused by age-related metabolic loss. Specifically, the researchers found that “noise trauma causes substantially greater changes in neural processing of complex sounds compared with age-related metabolic loss,” which the researchers think may explain why there are “large differences in speech perception commonly seen between people with the same clinically defined degree of hearing loss based on an audiogram.”
According to the CDC, noise-induced hearing loss is 100% preventable. In public health, prevention of disease is almost always better and cheaper than treatment of a disease or condition. For hearing, natural hearing preserved into old age is much better and much cheaper than costly hearing aids.
So remember: if it sounds too loud, it IS too loud. Avoid excessive noise exposure and use hearing protection now, or need hearing aids later.
Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He is the founding chair of The Quiet Coalition, an organization of science, health, and legal professionals concerned about the impacts of noise on health, environment, learning, productivity, and quality of life in America. Dr Fink also is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’ Health Advisory Council, and he served on the board of the American Tinnitus Association from 2015-2018.