WHAT IS THE PREVELANCE OF HEARING LOSS?
- An estimated 31 million Americans are affected by hearing loss. Hearing loss is becoming more prevalent as today's world becomes an increasingly noisy place. As a result, people of all ages need to know that there are ways to reduce the potential loss of hearing and solutions that can help improve quality of life.
- Contrary to popular belief, hearing loss is not just a concern for the elderly. In fact:
- 65 percent of hearing loss cases affects those under the age of 65, with more than 6 million people affected between the ages of 18 to 44.
- 8 million of the approximately 40 million school children in the United States have some degree of hearing impairment.
Children with hearing loss have increased difficulties with verbal and nonverbal communication skills, increased behavioral problems, decreased psychosocial well-being, and lower educational attainment compared with children with normal hearing.
- 5.2 million 6-19 year olds have hearing loss directly related to noise exposure.
It is routine practice in most hospitals to perform hearing tests on babies shortly after delivery. If you believe your child has not been tested and/or you have observed any of these behaviors, talk to your local hearing health professional about getting your child's hearing tested:
- Your baby does not startle or jump to loud sounds
- Your baby does not stop sucking or crying when there is a new sound
- Your 3-month-old baby does not coo at times or make eye contact when talked to
- Your 9-month-old does not turn toward you when called from behind or make babbling sounds, such as "baba"
- Your 1-year-old does not babble using a variety of consonant sounds (g,m,n,b,d)
- Your 18-month-old does not use single words to express his or her wants
- Your 2-year-old does not repeat words or phrases and does not use short phrases when talking
- Your child often asks for things to be repeated
- Your child seems to watch your face closely when you talk
- Your child seems inattentive at home or school
- Your child does not communicate as well as other children the same age
- your child often responds to a question with an unrelated answer
- Your child prefers the TV or radio louder than others in your family
- Your child has had many ear infections
- Your child responds inconsistently to sound
Hearing damage from excessive noise is permanent, but completely preventable. Hearing loss can be related to repeated exposures or just one exposure to a very loud sound. Here are some ways to protect your child's hearing and know when sound is too loud:
- Have your child avoid prolonged exposure to common sources of loud noises, such as a television, stereo, iPods, MP3 players etc.
- Consider the use of sound isolating earphones. This will allow your child to use music devices at a lower volume level in noisy environments. If you are using ear buds and a friend standing nearby can also hear your music, it's too loud.
- If using a personal stereo or MP3 player, look at the manufacturer's website. Many manufacturers allow users to download a volume limit to their device.
- Have your child wear protective earplugs when he or she is exposed to sustained loud noises, such as power tools or a lawnmower.
- Wear ear protection yourself. Don't let it be a "do as I say not as I do" situation. You are the best role model for your child's actions.
- Parents are often the first people to sense that their child has a hearing problem. It is important to recognize the signs of hearing loss in infants and toddlers as early as possible. The most critical period for speech and language development is from birth to four years of age.
- If you suspect that your child may have hearing loss, call your local hearing health professional to set-up a hearing screening and to learn more about available solutions.
Hear the World is partnering with Macy's department stores to bring the message of hearing loss awareness to cities across the country through the Hear the World Tour - featuring a photography exhibit of celebrity ambassadors, free hearing screenings and educational materials.
The internationally-acclaimed Hear the World photography exhibit features the artwork of rock legend and official Hear the World photographer, Bryan Adams. Each image features the celebrity ambassador with a hand behind their ear in a conscious pose of "hearing."
While you are at the exhibit, don't forget to have your hearing screened for free. Local hearing health professionals are also be on hand to answer any questions and provide educational materials about hearing loss prevention and treatment.
The exhibit runs until October 29th at Macy's Union Square.
Visit www.hear-the-world.com to learn more about hearing loss, for an online hearing test and to find a hearing health professional in your area. Who: Dr. Rupa Balachandran, PhD., Hearing Health Professional, Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California.
Hear the World is a global initiative by hearing system manufacturer Phonak created to raise awareness about the importance of hearing. The initiative calls attention to the social and emotional impact of hearing loss and addresses prevention of and solutions to a problem that affects more than 16 percent of the world's population.
What: Shoppers will have the opportunity to receive a free hearing screening, as well as view an internationally-acclaimed photography exhibit featuring the artwork of musician and official Hear the World photographer, Bryan Adams. Local hearing health professionals will be on hand to answer any questions and provide educational materials about hearing loss prevention and treatment.
Where: Macy's Union Square
170 O'Farrell Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
When: October 14-28, 2009
Store Hours: 10 am - 9 pm
Why: While often undetected or ignored, hearing loss can become a social and emotional barrier for the individuals and families who it affects. Contrary to popular belief, hearing loss is not solely a concern for the elderly. In fact, according to the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), 65% of hearing loss cases affects those under the age of 65, with more than 6 million people affected between the ages of 18 to 44.
Rupa Balachandran, PhD/ Director of Audiology Services at the Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California.
Dr. Balachandran has over 15 years of experience as a clinical audiologist. She received her Doctorate from the Graduate Center, City university of New York. Dr. Balachandran has worked as a consultant for the National Health Services in the UK and held a faculty position at Sacramento State before coming to the Hearing and Speech Center in 2007. She also has been a funded researcher in the areas of speech perception by hearing impaired individuals, sensory aids for hearing impaired, and central auditory processing. She also serves as education Chair on the Board of the California Academy of Audiology.
For more information, visit: www.hearingspeech.org