Hearing loss probably isn't at the forefront of your mind, but if you find yourself screaming "what?!" at people everyday, it should be.

In fact, the Hearing Industries Association (HIA), reports that less than 16% of adults ages 20-69 who need a hearing aid actually use one. And while four of five Americans consider hearing loss to be serious, few actually focus on the problem.

"Hearing loss is something that develops gradually, if you're talking about age-related hearing loss," said Kate Carr, President of the HIA, in our "Tuned In to NoCo" interview. "So the things that you miss, a little bit at a time...you may not notice and you might just think that: 'I can hear well enough.'"

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Experts are also concerned about how the pandemic is affecting hearing loss, as more people are spending an increased amount of time with their headphones in on video calls.

Carr warns that any sound above 85 decibels (dB) can be damaging.

"There's so much we don't know about COVID-19. But there seems to be some association between having COVID and hearing loss," said Carr. "We also know that working from home...doing school at home or online as opposed to in a classroom, is leading for us to have our headsets or our ear pods in for longer periods of time, and we just want to encourage people to watch the level of sound that's going into their ears."

Hearing loss is also associated with increased depression, dementia and harmful falls. In order to keep your hearing health in check, Carr recommends visiting an audiologist at least once a year.

Learn more about how the pandemic's effect on hearing loss by listening to the full "Tuned In to NoCo" interview with Kate Carr below.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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