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Hearing loss more likely in rural areas

Hearing loss more likely in rural areas

2 months, 4 weeks ago by Scott Hardy

Study released Wednesday says rural residents face louder noises than urban residents

A new estimate shows hearing loss affects nearly 38 million Americans, and is more common in rural areas like the Tri-States than urban ones. 

The study, published Wednesday in The Lancet Regional Health-Americas Journal, is the first to estimate hearing loss rates at the state and county level. Local results show that the highest levels of hearing loss in the Tri-States are in Schuyler County, Illinois, and in Monroe and Knox Counties in Northeast Missouri. All three counties have over 18.5 per cent of residents with some form of hearing loss. Adams County has between 12.8 and 15.5 per cent of the population with hearing loss, while Marion County has between 5 and 12.8 per cent. The study was led by NORC at the University of Chicago, with estimates for 2019 and only include people who have hearing loss in both ears. While the study could not explain the reason for the geographic divide, experts who treat hearing loss say there are two factors to consider: how loud noises are and how often people hear them.

Experts say rural Americans need better access to hearing screenings and specialists. Many jobs in rural areas may use loud machinery. Popular leisure activities in these areas, like hunting, woodworking and riding all-terrain vehicles, also put hearing at risk.

The full county by county map is available here.

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