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Loud noise can cause irreversible hearing damage, as it harms the delicate hearing mechanism in the inner ear.

“Damage to hearing due to noise exposure is cumulative. The louder the sound, the less time you can safely listen to it. Just because a sound isn’t annoying doesn’t make it safe,” said David Brady, Chair of Deafness Forum of Australia.

Many daily activities won’t harm your hearing, but some activities can start to cause damage after only a short time.

“Noisy occupations used to be the most common cause of hearing problems, but nowadays it’s also recreational loud noise, especially from personal music players and noisy clubs and concerts. That's why hearing loss is increasingly affecting younger people,” David Brady said.

Another major cause of hearing loss is the natural ageing process. Over half the population aged between 60 and 70 having a hearing loss.

An estimated 3.5 million Australians are affected by varying degrees, half of whom are of working age.

If you're concerned that you may be losing your hearing, tackling the problem early can improve both your hearing and your quality of life, including your relationships. People who are fitted with hearing aids early are likely to get more benefit from them than those who put up with hearing loss for years before seeking help. It can take up to 15 years for people who clearly have hearing loss to get tested. A key reason for those long years in denial is the stigma of hearing loss.

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