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AARP Survey: More Awareness Needed to Prevent Hearing Loss

En español | While nearly all older adults (99 percent) think hearing health is important to their quality of life, they’re less likely to take steps to protect it, a new AARP survey found.

More than 1,000 people 50 and older were surveyed in January about their hearing health and what they would do if they experienced hearing loss.

The good news is that nearly nine in 10 respondents thought it was important to minimize exposure to loud noise — which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists as the second most common cause of hearing loss, after aging. 

But far fewer thought it was important to use hearing protection to do so, the survey found. Just 41 percent of people with no hearing loss, and 27 percent of those who currently have hearing difficulties, said they were likely to wear protective devices like earplugs or noise-canceling headsets, according to the survey. 

Limiting long-term exposure to loud noises is the most important action people can take to protect their hearing, Frank Lin, M.D., professor of otolaryngology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said during an AARP virtual event last year. 

But just 8 percent of adults 18 and over said they consistently used ear protection at concerts and loud sporting events, according to a CDC study, and older adults were significantly less likely to use them — suggesting a need for more awareness.

Read more about older adults' attitudes on hearing health and learn about hearing loss prevention, testing and more at AARP’s Hearing Center. 

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