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Hearing Loss in Youth More Prevalent Than Thought

A recently released study by doctors at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore MD raises alarm on the prevalence of hearing loss, most especially among younger people.

It is now believed that as many as 55 million Americans may have hearing loss in one or both ears up from the previously cited figures of between 23 and 31 million.

It has been a common belief among hearing health professionals that hearing loss is most prevalent among the older population, peaking after the age of 85. However, the study found that a sizeable number of people in their 20s and 30s already suffer from hearing impairment.

The researchers also identified the groups most predisposed to hearing loss: men are 5.5 times more likely than females and Mexican American men, however, have the highest rate of high-frequency hearing loss in both ears. Also, people who smoke, have cardiovascular risks and diabetes, or are exposed to loud environmental noises, are more likely to suffer from hearing loss.

The studys authors say all these risk factors are either preventable or medically treatable. They suggest that screening must begin at least in young adulthood and the efforts should be intensified to reduce the incidence of hearing loss through prevention and management programs.

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