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Larry E Roberts and William Hal Martin (2010)

The prevention of tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss

In: Textbook of Tinnitus, ed. by Aage R. Møller, Berthold Langguth, Dirk De Ridder, and Tobias Kleinjung. Springer, New York, chap. 69, pp. 527-534.

Keypoints

  1. Although tinnitus is more common in older ­individuals, it can occur at any age. Because tinnitus in most individuals is associated with hearing impairment, prevalence may be increasing among youthful populations owing to exposure to environmental and recreational sound.
  2. At present, there are no effective medical treatments for chronic tinnitus. Because hearing loss is a major risk factor, primary prevention is possible. Primary prevention is effective in other health domains, although it takes time for such programs to have impact.
  3. Public education programs, role modeling by ­parents, cooperation from employers and industry, awareness campaigns, education of health professionals about avoidable risk factors, legislated standards for sound-emitting devices, and protection strategies that are acceptable to the young as well as adults, all have a role to play.
  4. “Dangerous Decibels” is an example of a ­successful program aimed at reducing noise-induced ­hearing loss and tinnitus among school-aged ­children and young adults.
  5. Epidemiological research tracking the prevalence of hearing loss and tinnitus at all ages, and research on intervention approaches, can provide essential information about effectiveness and long-term trends.

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