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Tinnitus Awareness Week – May 19-25 2013

Pacific Northwest Audiology joins with the American Tinnitus Association (ATA) to recognize Tinnitus Awareness Week


Established in 1927, May has since been known as “Better Hearing and Speech Month” – a time to raise national public awareness, knowledge and understanding of speech, language and hearing disorders. To complement ATA’s year-round advocacy efforts, each year we set aside a week in May to focus specifically on increasing public awareness about tinnitus and most importantly the need for increased funding for tinnitus research.

What You Should Know About Tinnitus

These facts were collected by the American Tinnitus Association:

  • According to data analyzed from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 50 million people in the United States experience tinnitus (and millions more worldwide); of those, 16 million have sought medical attention for their tinnitus and 2-3 million are completely disabled from their tinnitus.
  • Tinnitus is most often the result of noise exposure; either from a single impulse (extreme) noise, or cumulative exposure to noise. Head and neck injury are the second leading known cause of tinnitus and this cause is on the rise in military and veteran populations.
  • According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), tinnitus is the #1 service-connected disability for veterans accounting for over 840,000 individuals and the cost to compensate veterans for tinnitus is over $1.28 billion annually.
  • In the United States, economic loss to an individual who has tinnitus can be up to $30,000 annually and up to $26,000,000,000 to society as a whole.
  • In 2012, between all public and private funding in the U.S. combined, approximately $10 million was spent on tinnitus research.
  • Sixty percent of all cases of auditory injury, including tinnitus within the Iraq and Afghanistan veteran population were the result of a blast-induced mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI).
  • A recent Department of Defense study on Iraq service veterans conducted by the San Diego Naval Medical Center found that 70% of those exposed to an explosive blast reported tinnitus within the first 72 hours after the incident; 43% of those seen one month after the incident continued to report tinnitus.
  • 30 million workers are at risk for tinnitus from noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) from hazardous noise on the job.
  • The Centers for Disease Control report that nearly 13% of children ages 6-19 (5 million in the U.S.) already have some form of NIHL. This means they may also have tinnitus or they are at greater risk for developing tinnitus.
  • According to the National Institute on Occupational Safety and Health, 85 decibels for 8 hours is considered to be “safe,” meaning it is unlikely to do damage.

Sounds Levels and Exposure Limits

If you are exposed to sounds above 85 dBA…you need to protect your hearing with earplugs, earmuffs, or other ear protection

Dr. Li-Korotky is a Professional-level Gold member of the American Tinnitus Association. The Doctor is President of Pacific Northwest Audiology (www.pnwaudiology.com) in Bend OR, and provides a wide range of tinnitus evaluation and management services

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