Innovations in Preventing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss and Tinnitus It is estimated that over 28 million Americans are affected by hearing loss, and 40 million have tinnitus—an early indicator of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Many hearing losses are irreversible, but nearly all losses related to noise are preventable. Hearing loss often has a gradual progression that becomes a ... Article
Article  |   April 01, 2004
Innovations in Preventing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • William Hal Martin
    Department of Otolaryngology, Oregon Hearing Research Center, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
  • Susan E. Griest
    Department of Otolaryngology, Oregon Hearing Research Center, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
  • Linda C. Howarth
    Department of Otolaryngology, Oregon Hearing Research Center, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Audiologic / Aural Rehabilitation / Articles
Article   |   April 01, 2004
Innovations in Preventing Noise-Induced Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
SIG 7 Perspectives on Aural Rehabilitation and Its Instrumentation, April 2004, Vol. 12, 12-15. doi:10.1044/arii12.1.12
SIG 7 Perspectives on Aural Rehabilitation and Its Instrumentation, April 2004, Vol. 12, 12-15. doi:10.1044/arii12.1.12
It is estimated that over 28 million Americans are affected by hearing loss, and 40 million have tinnitus—an early indicator of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Many hearing losses are irreversible, but nearly all losses related to noise are preventable. Hearing loss often has a gradual progression that becomes a silent epidemic, depriving us of our ability to communicate, often without our awareness. Tinnitus is often a partner to NIHL and is even more devastating than hearing loss alone. By age 70, nearly two of every three individuals are hearing impaired.
Hearing loss is increasing at an alarming rate across all age groups, especially among children. A study of students in California from 1979 to 1989 reported, “In the district data over the last 10 years, the percentage of second graders with hearing loss has increased 2.8 times; hearing loss in eighth graders has increased over four times” (Montgomery and Fujikawa, 1992, p. 62). Niskar and colleagues (2001)  reported that an estimated 5.2 million (12.5%) of 6- to 19-year-olds in the U.S. have documented evidence of elevated hearing thresholds directly attributed to noise exposure in 2001. That represents nearly four students in every classroom. The World Health Organization reported that North American children “may receive more noise at school than workers from an 8-hour work day at a factory” (Strategies for Prevention, 1997, p. 6). It is highly probable that tinnitus is increasing in proportion to the hearing loss resulting from noise.
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