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by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

October is almost over. October is also National Protect Your Hearing Month.

I’m not big on special days or months. If something is worth doing or someone is worth honoring or worth being concerned about, we should do it or honor them or be concerned about it every day.

My late mother taught me that. Many decades ago, when at our father’s urging we asked her what she wanted for Mother’s Day, she would snap:

This is what I want for Mother’s Day. I want you boys to stop fighting. I want you to make your beds in the morning without me nagging. I want you to clean up your toys. And I want you to come to the table for dinner the first time I call you, not the fourth. Mother’s Day is every day. You can’t be mean to me 364 days of the year and expect being nice on one day to matter.

So that’s my approach to special days and months, including my own birthday and the month of October.

But the special days or months do provide the opportunity to remind ourselves and others of something important.

For National Protect Your Hearing Month, our friends at CDC informed us that on October 19, it released a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) entitled, “Use of Personal Hearing Protection Devices at Loud Athletic or Entertainment Events Among Adults — United States, 2018.” In this report, CDC researchers found that fewer than 20% of American adults used hearing protection when attending loud athletic or entertainment events.

Maybe this is part of the reason why CDC researchers reported last year that a large percentage of American adults age 20-69 had noise-induced hearing loss, many without any occupational exposure to loud noise.

Protect your hearing now to avoid needing hearing aids later.

Remember: If it sounds too loud, it IS too loud.