Are You Losing Your Hearing?

According to a 2004 study by Johns Hopkins, 10 percent of 20-somethings suffer from compromised hearing (compared to 8.9 percent five years earlier), with some experts blaming endless iPod and cell-phone use. Here, a few preventive strategies:

1. Try noise-cancellation headsets - or wear earphones over earbuds - when listening to music amid loud ambient sounds (e.g., lawn mowers).

2. Take earplugs to concerts and clubs. If you can't hold a normal conversation, insert immediately. Ditto when riding on noisy boats or bikes.

3. Lose the cigarettes. Smoking has been linked to increased chances of hearing loss.

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