Ironically, one of the most dangerous threats to healthy hearing is sound itself. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 5.2 million children/adolescents aged 6-19 years have noise-induced hearing loss, and as many as 40 million adults aged 20 to 69 have suffered permanent damage to their hearing from noise exposure. That’s why the Academy of Doctors of Audiology developed the PITCH initiative which encourages Perfect Hearing Health Habits.
Following the PITCH Initiative Helps Prevent Hearing Loss
PITCH stands for Protect, Investigate, Treat, and CHeck. Read on to learn more about how to ensure you have good hearing for life.
Noise-induced hearing loss is 100% preventable.
- Protect your hearing (and your child’s hearing)
- Set volume at a safe level (lower than 85 dB)
- Limit duration of noise exposure
- Move away from dangerous noise levels. If it is too loud to comfortably carry on a conversation with someone three feet away, the noise level is unsafe
- Wear hearing protection
INVESTIGATE: Investigate problems immediately. If you suspect that you, or a loved one, has a hearing problem, or if you experience any of the following symptoms, contact an audiologist immediately to investigate the issue:
- Pain or discomfort in the ear
- Visible congenital or traumatic deformity of the ear
- Acute or chronic dizziness
- Suspected foreign body or object in the ear
- Drainage from the ear
- Sudden or rapidly progressive hearing loss
- One-sided hearing loss
Treat hearing loss promptly. Untreated hearing loss is associated with the following conditions:
- Social isolation
- Increased risk of falls
- Reduced cognitive function
Despite common misperceptions, hearing loss treatment does not always involve hearing aids, nor is treatment necessarily expensive. Audiologists provide a wide-range of rehabilitative solutions and counseling options that will optimize your hearing, and meet your lifestyle and budget needs.
CHECK YOUR HEARING REGULARLY:
- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a hearing screening at birth; at ages 4, 5 and 6, years; an assessment using audiometry between 11 and 14 years; between 15 and 17 years; and between 18 and 21 years
- The ADA recommends asymptomatic adults receive an audiologic evaluation, and hearing conservation counseling every five years, beginning at 20 years of age, and an annual evaluation beginning at 50 years of age
- Those involved in professional or recreational pursuits that involve noisy environments (e.g. aviation, construction, entertainment and sporting venues, manufacturing, mining, military operations, and farming) are at highest risk for noise exposure, and should be tested annually, or at intervals determined by an audiologist, or required by law
Audiologists Can Improve Your Hearing
Call your audiologist. An audiologist can help you protect and improve your hearing. Audiologists are doctoral-level professionals who diagnose and treat hearing and balance problems. An audiologist can provide you with custom hearing protection, counseling, and a plan of care to help you optimize your hearing over a lifetime.
Academy of Doctors of Audiology (ADA) member audiologists are dedicated to evidence-based practices in the delivery of hearing and balance health care. Tim Steele, Ph.D., FAAA, President, Associated Audiologists, serves on the national board of directors of this professional organization.