The Know Your Hearing Number public health campaign
Many of us know our height, weight, vision, and perhaps blood pressure. But what about our hearing? Our ability to hear is foundational to healthy aging, and hearing loss is strongly linked to adverse health outcomes, such as dementia and depression. Yet, there hasn’t been a consistent metric that allows us to understand and talk about our hearing function.
The Johns Hopkins Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health launched the Know Your Hearing Number campaign to introduce a common metric for hearing. The Hearing Number is the four-frequency pure tone average, or PTA4, and it reflects how loud speech typically must be for someone to hear it. The Hearing Number ranges from about 0 to 100 dB and can be directly applied to the broad categories that health organizations use to define levels of hearing loss. These categories include:
- Mild is a Hearing Number of 20 to 34
- Moderate is a Hearing Number of 34 to 49
- Moderately severe is a Hearing Number of 50 to 64
- Severe is a Hearing Number of 65 to 79
This public health campaign aims to create broad acceptance of the Hearing Number as a tool for understanding and communicating about hearing. Embracing this simple number is a step toward:
- Improving the way people understand and talk about their own hearing.
- Increasing conversations about hearing among patients and health care professionals, as well as among loved ones.
- Destigmatizing hearing loss.
- Empowering people to adopt communication strategies and hearing technologies that can improve their hearing and quality of life.
Johns Hopkins Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health
The Johns Hopkins Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health is a leader and global resource for ground-breaking research and training on hearing loss and public health. The Cochlear Center is dedicated to recruiting and training a generation of researchers, clinicians, and public health experts who can study the impact that hearing loss has on public health, develop and test strategies to address hearing loss, and help implement effective policies for hearing loss at the local, national, and global levels.