Industrial Healthtest
About Us
Our Staff
Our Mission
Our Philosophy
Professional Affiliations

To request a quote, call us today at
Contact Us Online


What You Need to Know About Hearing Loss

As rockers and even restaurants crank up the volume, more and more young people are affected.

Experts blame not only advancing age, but also noisier times and loud rock music, for the apparent increase in hearing problems.  Hearing loss is one of America’s leading disabilities, affecting as many as 28 million people – and not just old folks. 

Moreover, it often goes undetected and untreated, though hearing aids help 95% of the time.  A study in New York shows one in 10 ninth graders failed a screening; another suggested that more than half of college freshmen had some hearing loss. 
The culprit, “Noise.”  Among the loud offenders: radio headphones, motorboats, electric shavers, snowmobiles, lawn mowers, diesel trucks and, importantly, rock music. 

One very loud noise can damage the middle ear, but a bigger problem is continuous noise over 80-85 decibels, about the level of a lawn mower, vacuum cleaner, assembly line or noisy restaurant. 

Such noise damages tiny hairs in the inner ear that help translate sound vibrations into electrical impulses for the brain.  The damage is cumulative, and the longer and louder the exposure, the more chance for permanent harm, which is often signaled by ringing in the ears and muffled speech.

If you suspect hearing loss, your doctor might help or refer you to an otolaryngologist or otologist – physicians specializing in hearing problems – or an audiologist, trained to diagnose hearing problems and dispense hearing aids.  Audiologists are certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

If you need a hearing aid, experts note that hearing loss is as distinct as a fingerprint; they recommend you try various types.  Donna Sorkin, Executive Director of the consumer group, Self-Help for Hard of Hearing People, suggests trials of at least 60 days; most states require a 30-day trial. 

In the meantime, the hearing aid industry is ready for a boom in hearing problems:  At least three (3) new high-tech aids work like tiny computers in the ear canal.  They translate sound into a binary signal, adjust it to meet the wearer’s individual needs, then turn it back into sound and send it into the ear.

But these new devices, do not come cheap - $2,500 - $3,500 each – compared with about half that price for traditional analog devices, which also now feature high-tech options and the same completely-in-the-canal (CIC) sizes. 



Watch ticking


Whispering, library


Leaves rustling, refrigerator


Average home, neighborhood street


Normal conversation, dishwasher, microwave


Car, alarm clock, city traffic


Garbage disposal, noisy restaurant, vacuum cleaner, outboard motor


Passing motorcycle, lawn mower, convertible ride on a freeway


Blow-dryer, diesel truck, subway train, helicopter, chain saw


Car horn, snowblower


Rock concert, prop plane


Jet engine 100 feet away, air raid siren


Shotgun blast

  • Every step up of 10 decibels reflects a tenfold increase in sound. So 100 decibels is 10 times noiser than 90 decibels.
  • The federal government advises wearing earplugs, earmuffs or other hearing protection whenever you are exposed to 85 decibels for a period of more than a few hours (Some experts say damage is done at level as low as 70 decibels.)  Federal regulations require a hearing conservation program at any workplace where employees are exposed to 85 decibels during their entire eight (8) hour workday.


Sources: Better Hearing Institute; Self-Help for Hard of Hearing People