Hearing loss is currently a public health concern and scientists think that it will become much more common for individuals in their 20’s to be wearing hearing aids.
When you think of extreme hearing loss, thoughts of elderly people may come to mind. But all age groups have seen a recent rise in hearing loss during the last few years. Increased hearing loss in all ages further demonstrates that hearing loss isn’t an “aging problem,” but a growing epidemic.
Among adults 20 and older, scientists predict that hearing loss will increase by 40%. The healthcare community views this as a serious public health issue. One in five people is, according to John Hopkins medical research, having a hard time communicating due to extreme hearing loss.
Let’s see why experts are so concerned and what’s causing an increase in hearing loss amongst all age groups.
Added Health Problems Can be The Consequence of Hearing Loss
It’s a terrible thing to have to endure serious hearing loss. Communication is aggravating, fatiguing, and demanding every day. Individuals can often disengage from their family and friends and stop doing the things they enjoy. When you’re enduring significant hearing loss, it will be impossible to be active without getting help.
Individuals with untreated hearing loss suffer from more than diminished hearing. They’re far more likely to develop:
- Other acute health conditions
- Cognitive decline
- Injuries from recurring falls
They’re also more likely to have difficulties with their personal friendships and might have trouble getting basic needs met.
In combination with the impact on their personal lives, individuals experiencing hearing loss might face increased:
- Accident rates
- Healthcare costs
- Disability rates
- Needs for public support
- Insurance rates
These factors demonstrate that hearing loss is a major obstacle we need to fight as a society.
Why Are Multiple Generations Encountering Increased Hearing Loss?
There are a number of factors causing the present rise in hearing loss. One factor is the increased prevalence of common diseases that can cause hearing loss, including:
- Anxiety and unmanaged stress
- Cardiovascular disease
- Poor diet and a lack of regular exercise
- High blood pressure
These conditions and other related conditions are contributing to additional hearing loss because they’re affecting people at younger ages.
Lifestyle also plays a major role in the increased incidence of hearing loss. Exposure to loud noises is more common, particularly in recreation areas and work environments. We’re being exposed to loud sounds and music in more places and modern technology is getting louder. It’s often the younger people who have the highest degree of noise exposure in:
- Bars, clubs, and concerts
- Shooting ranges
Moreover, many people are turning the volume of their music up to hazardous levels and are using earbuds. And a greater number of individuals are now using painkillers, either to manage chronic pain or recreationally. Opiates, aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen will increase your chance of hearing loss especially if used over a long period of time.
How is Society Responding to Hearing Loss as a Health Issue?
Local, national, and world organizations have recognized the issue. They’re working to prevent this upward trend by educating the public on hearing loss such as:
- Risk factors
- Treatment options
Individuals are being urged by these organizations to:
- Know their degree of hearing loss risk
- Wear their hearing aids
- Have their hearing evaluated sooner in their lives
Any delays in these activities make the affect of hearing loss significantly worse.
Solutions are being looked for by government organizations, healthcare providers, and researchers. Hearing aid related costs are also being tackled. Advanced hearing technology will be increased and lives will be dramatically improved.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with scientists and organizations to create comprehensive strategies. They are incorporating education, awareness, and health services to reduce the risk of hearing loss in underserved groups.
Among their efforts, they’ve developed research-based guidelines for communities, which help local leaders understand the health impacts of noise. They work with communities to decrease resident’s noise exposure and teach what safe levels of noise are. Additionally, they’re furthering research on how opiate use and abuse can raise the danger of hearing loss.
Can You do Anything?
Keep yourself informed because hearing loss is a public health issue. Take measures to slow the development of your own hearing loss and share useful information with others.
If you think you may be experiencing hearing loss, have your hearing examined. If you find you need hearing aids, make sure you wear them.
The final goal is to prevent all hearing loss. When you wear your hearing aids, you help people understand they’re not alone. You’re bringing awareness about the problem of hearing loss in your community. Policies, attitudes, and actions will then be transformed by this awareness.