Most people don't know this, but former President Bill Clinton wore a hearing aid. Clinton was the 2nd youngest president ever elected to office, and a member of the “baby boomer generation” born between 1945 and 1964. At the age of only 51, halfway through his two terms as US President, Clinton sometimes wore a hearing aid.
New studies have shown that baby boomers are more susceptible to hearing loss than earlier generations. More people in their 40's and 50's are turning the TV up louder, asking their kids to repeat what they said, and having trouble hearing the other end of a telephone conversation.
Why Boomers In Particular?
Why is hearing loss a big problem for baby boomers? In additional to the natural hearing loss that comes with age, the world has become a noisier place. Loud machinery, airplanes, automobile engines, tools, even the lawnmowers all add to the cacophony.
Boomers work in louder places than their folks did. Workplace noise pollution has become an increasingly big health problem. It is made worse by the fact that workers get used to the noise they are exposed to everyday.
And, boomers are known for their lifestyle. Leisure activities often include loud music from speakers, engines on boats or motorcycles, and activities like shooting, which are all noisy.
And, yes, boomers like their music LOUD. Not only were baby boomers (including Clinton) the first generation raised on pounding drums and screaming guitars; modern technology allows us to enjoy our music at ear-splitting decibel levels. Our parents couldn't crank that Victrola-like you can crank your stereo, and they didn't have headphones.
How Big Is The Problem?
Hearing loss is a much more serious problem than most people imagine. Even slight hearing loss can make it difficult to hear telephone conversations, or to make out sounds in a loud environment.
Furthermore, you suffer hearing loss even if you can't feel it. Long before you feel pain at hig volume levels, noise begins to damage your hearing. By the time you notice that you can't hear so well, the damage is done.
Studies have found that very few boomers seek medical help for hearing loss. Even fewer are getting tested by an audiologist. Hearing loss occurs gradually, and it is hard to tell if you have lost some hearing over time.
What's The Solution?
Surveys show that boomers are well aware of their hearing problems. It may seem like no big deal. Who wants to turn the stereo down, anyway?
However, seeking medical help can go a long way. Hearing loss is permanent, but steps can be made to prevent further hearing loss. The sooner you do something about it, the better your chances are of salvaging your hearing.
Aside from going to the doctor, there are some guidelines you can follow:
Try your best to stay out of loud environments. If you have to shout to be heard, it's too loud.
When you have to be in a noisy environment, wear earplugs. They're cheap and very effective for keeping the noise out. Earmuffs may also work, depending on the material; cloth doesn't keep out noise.
I know, “If it's too loud, you're too old!” Well, baby boomers have long since passed the age where it would be cool to say something like that! Keep rocking, but turn it down a little, ok?
Jerry Miller is a hearing expert, who guides people that are suffering from hearing problem and also guide them about how to prevent from hearing loss problem by using good preventions.