Community

Hearing loss is becoming silent health crisis

Many Enumclaw-area residents may not be aware that they are battling a silent health crisis – one that affects more than 30 million people. In fact, hearing loss, the third-leading health condition among Americans, impacts one in 10 people, about 40 percent of whom are younger than 65 years old. Recognizing the severity of these statistics, Sears Hearing Aid Service Center of Enumclaw is honoring Better Hearing Month this May. The local hearing solution center is offering tips for members of the local community to actively help prevent hearing loss.

“The fast-paced, multi-media nature of our lives today has resulted in ever-increasing levels of noise pollution, which means that environmental factors are a more common cause of hearing loss than old age,” said Rick Frasier, owner of Sears Hearing Aid Service Center of Enumclaw. “We actually suspect that age will become even less of a factor of hearing loss moving forward, meaning that for Enumclaw-area residents and future generations, proper preventative measures to protect their hearing are of increasing importance.”

Frasier recommends that Enumclaw-area residents take a proactive approach to maintaining their hearing by following these simple tips:

• Be aware – Know and avoid the noises that cause damage. Typically over 85 decibels, some of the biggest offenders are jet engines, motorcycles, chainsaws, powerboats and personal stereo systems.

• Perform proper maintenance – When necessary, replace car mufflers or tune up lawn equipment to ensure proper performance and to reduce unnecessary noise. When purchasing new power tools, consider their noise output before buying.

• Protect your ears – Earplugs or earmuffs can be powerful tools for protecting noise-induced hearing loss. When choosing protection for your ears, opt for a style that is comfortable and that will be easy to wear consistently.

• Speak up – If you work a job where hazardous noise is an issue, such as a firefighter, construction worker or musician, speak to your employer about conducting annual hearing tests to determine any change in hearing that might indicate under-protection from the sound.

• Get tested – If you are frequently exposed to loud noises or have any suspicions about the condition of your hearing, get tested. Professional hearing examinations are safe and pain-free.

Particularly due to increased exposure to prolonged and excessive noise, such as that caused by MP3 players, lawn equipment and rock concerts, hearing loss typically happens over time, making it hard to notice until it becomes advanced. Fortunately, however, the Better Hearing Institute reports that one-third of all hearing loss can be prevented with proper hearing protection.

“Hearing loss can have a significant influence on a person’s quality of life, including his or her job performance, social relationships and mental state,” Frasier said. “While the common belief is that hearing loss is an unavoidable consequence of old age, the truth is that it can affect people of all ages and, in many instances, it can be prevented.”

Offering free hearing tests and consultations, Sears Hearing Aid Service Center of Enumclaw is dedicated to reconnecting Enumclaw-area residents to the world around them by improving their hearing. The center takes into consideration individuals’ lifestyles, environments in which they live and their style of interaction to determine any recommendations that may be made for treatment.

“Hearing loss should not just be accepted as a fact of life nor should it go ignored,” Frasier said. “There are plenty of options Enumclaw-area residents can take to improve their listening experiences, and we encourage them to take charge of their hearing today.”

Rick Frasier can be contacted at 360-802-3025.

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