Six Numbers to Know During May’s Better Hearing Month
April 27, 2023
For nearly 100 years, Better Hearing and Speech Month, sometimes shortened to Better Hearing Month, has helped raise awareness about hearing problems and their causes and encouraged people to get their hearing checked. Hearing is a vital component to our physical health and our social and emotional quality of life. Untreated hearing loss in seniors, for instance, has been linked to increased falls and risk of developing dementia.1 Read on to learn more hearing loss statistics and ways to protect your hearing.
- 2.5 billion people around the world are projected to have hearing loss by 2050.2
- 16,000 – There are approximately 16,000 hair cells within the inner ear, which allow your brain to detect sounds. You can lose 30% to 50% of these cells before you notice any hearing loss or before changes in your hearing can be detected on a hearing test. Damaged inner ear cells do not re-grow.3
- 80 decibels (dB) – When listening to music or podcasts through a personal audio device, the sound should not exceed 80 dB for adults. Keeping the volume below 60% is a good general rule.4 For reference, a large truck or motorcycle from 15 feet away is 85-90 dB, a jackhammer from 3 feet away is around 120 dB and a jet engine from 100 feet away is around 130 dB.5
- 17% of all U.S. adults between the ages of 20 and 69, representing approximately 26 million people, have suffered hearing damage from excessive exposure to noise.6 This is called noise-induced hearing loss.
- 25% - The percentage or people gets higher when you look at occupational hearing loss. Roughly 25% of all workers have been exposed to hazardous noise.7 Certain occupations, such as airline ground maintenance, construction, farming and military jobs involving firearms, have a higher risk for job-related hearing loss.8 The latest data from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) shows that 61% of all mining, oil and gas workers, 51% of all construction workers, 46% of all manufacturing workers and 40% of all transportation and warehousing workers have been exposed to hazardous levels of noise.9
- 53% - When looking at workers in all fields, more than half report not wearing hearing protection, even when their job involves being exposed to loud noises.10 If you drill down into different high-risk industries, the number varies. For example in mining, oil and gas its 28%, in utilities its 38% and in transportation / warehousing its 59% who have said they do not always wear hearing protection.11
Audiologists recommend a hearing screening—typically filling out a questionnaire or taking an online hearing test—every few years for those exposed to loud noises regularly through their job.12
How Honeywell Helps Protect Your Future Hearing Today
Wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to help safeguard your hearing is critical on the job, particularly when you work in a field with elevated noise exposure. Honeywell PPE offers many different hearing protection options, from a variety of earplugs and earmuffs that provide passive protection against noise to electronic earmuffs that have enhanced communication features while helping protect individuals’ hearing. Visit our website to learn more about how we help protect worker hearing across key industries around the world.
1 – American Academy of Audiology
2 - www.audiology.org
3 – www.cdc.gov
4 - World Health Organization’s first World Report on Hearing
6 - www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/hearingloss/noise
7 and 9, 10, 11 - www.cdc.gov
5 and 8 - www.mountsinai.org
12 - www.healthyhearing.com