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Study Finds Adults Of All Ages Concerned About Long-Term Affects Of Loud Noises

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A new study finds that adults of all ages are concerned about what loud noises may be doing to affect their ability to hear as they get older.

The American Speech-Language Hearing Association survey finds that 66 percent of people believe society is getting louder. And, while noisy environments feel more energetic to 48 percent of those questioned, 69 percent said those environments make it difficult to talk to other people. WBBM's Bernie Tafoya reports.

"When we look at the level of that noise" said Gail Richard PhD., president of the association. "Most of those concerts are 100 to 110 decibels and, when you are exposed to that noise for as long as 15 minutes, you are risking hearing loss."

Dr. Richard said noise and the hearing loss it causes has created a significant public health issue.

She adds that, "once you have a hearing loss, it is permanent."

The groups surveyed suggests that 18- to 29-year olds reported the highest level of dissatisfaction with noise levels in public places like bars, restaurants, even movie theaters, although the survey also finds that, as people get older, they try to stay away from most noisy places.

The survey finds, on the other hand, that young adults still like to see sports stadiums and restaurants designed to be noisy.

"The point of the survey was to kind of wake up the public to the issue for the future that they might have to take protective measures," Dr. Richard said.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates 40 million Americans ages 20 to 69 have hearing loss that may be due to noise exposure.

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