October is designated as Audiology Awareness Month and it is a great opportunity to stress the importance of hearing health care.

Hearing loss does not need to be an acceptable consequence of aging. Regular screenings, diagnostic tests, and early education are helping many people prevent hearing damage before it’s too late. Here are some questions you should consider when evaluating your hearing.

1. What Causes Hearing Loss?

Hearing loss can occur due to many factors including family history, excessive noise, trauma, inner and middle ear disorders, infections, and certain medications. For many people signs and symptoms are so gradual that they do not notice them until their hearing impairment has already progressed to an advanced stage.

Exposure to excessive noise is one of the most common contributors to hearing decline and is influenced by the amount of noise exposure, the average sound level, and the peak level of noise. In extreme cases, one moment of intense noise can cause permanent damage, such as a gunshot. Age-related hearing loss is another common contributor and is caused by changes in the inner ear that occur as you age.

2. Are You at Risk?

You may think only people who work in industries with high levels of daily noise have to worry about their long-term hearing health—but this is a myth. We tend to think of excessive noise when we think of construction, loud machines or firearms, but harmful noises are much more common and include:

  • Power tools                                                    
  • Lawn care equipment
  • Motorcycles
  • Sports cars
  • Sporting events
  • Fireworks
  • Concerts
  • Loud stereo systems