(HealthDay News) — The noise of modern life causes permanent hearing damage to many US adults who don’t even suspect they’ve experienced a loss, according to research published in the Feb 7 early-release issue of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC researchers analyzed 3583 hearing tests conducted on adult participants in the 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

One in four adults who believes his or her hearing is good or excellent actually has hearing damage, the CDC found. About 1 in 5 (19%) of young adults 20 to 29 had hearing loss, compared with more than 1 in 4 (27%) of adults 50 to 59. About 53% of adults with noise-induced hearing damage reported no exposure to loud sounds while on the job, according to the study. However, the researchers found that 1 in 5 people who reported no job-related noise exposure had hearing damage in a pattern that’s typically caused by noise.

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“About 20 million American adults have hearing damage indicative of noise exposure that probably comes from everyday activities in their home and community,” Anne Schuchat, MD, acting CDC director, said during a midday news briefing. “People may not realize these kinds of exposures can cause permanent damage.”


  1. Carroll YI, Eichwald J, Scinicariello F, et al. Vital Signs: Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Among Adults — United States 2011–2012. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 10 February 2017. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6605e3.