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by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

I think every other blog post I have written has been about some aspect of noise or hearing, but I’m going off message today to share with you this important article from Journal of the American Medical Association.

Well, perhaps I’m not going too far off message because many of my blog posts and other writings have emphasized the prevention of hearing loss and other auditory disorders by avoiding noise exposure or wearing hearing protection devices if one can’t. And today’s post is about the prevention of COVID-19, and the authors of the JAMA report are at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Prevention of disease is almost always better and cheaper than treatment, for both the individual and for society. Neither hearing loss nor COVID-19 has a cure. Both only have treatments: sound amplification for hearing loss, and generally supportive medical care now with a few specific treatments like steroids, antibody infusions, and a few other drugs for COVID-19.

And as with hearing loss, albeit with much more immediate and graver consequences, getting sick with COVID-19 is largely preventable.

The JAMA article notes that when the COVID-19 pandemic started a year ago, there was no good scientific evidence that wearing masks prevented its spread or protected mask wearers. Now there is.

And just as the scientific evidence incontrovertibly shows that noise causes hearing loss, the scientific evidence that wearing masks prevents the transmission of COVID-19 is also now incontrovertible.

Please protect your hearing. And please wear a mask.