Hearing loss is currently a public health issue 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 might come to mind. But all age groups have had a recent rise in hearing loss during the past few years. Hearing loss clearly isn’t an aging issue it’s an increasing crisis and the rising cases among all age groups illustrates this.
Scientists predict within the next 40 years, hearing loss rates will double in adults 20 and older. This is seen as a public health problem by the healthcare community. One in five individuals is, according to John Hopkins medical research, having a difficult time communicating because of extreme hearing loss.
Let’s look at why experts are so worried and what’s contributing to a spike in hearing loss amongst all age groups.
Added Health Problems Can be The Outcome of Hearing Loss
Serious hearing loss is a terrible thing to go through. Communication is aggravating, exhausting, and challenging every day. Individuals can often withdraw from their family and friends and stop doing the things they love. When you’re experiencing severe hearing loss, it will be impossible to be active without getting help.
People who have untreated hearing loss have problems with more than diminished hearing. They’re a lot more likely to experience:
- Injuries from repeated falls
- Cognitive decline
- Other severe health conditions
They’re also more likely to have difficulties with their personal friendships and may have challenges getting basic needs met.
Along with the impact on their personal lives, individuals experiencing hearing loss might face increased:
- Needs for public support
- Disability rates
- Healthcare costs
- Insurance costs
- Accident rates
We need to fight hearing loss as a society because as these factors demonstrate, hearing loss is a significant challenge.
Why Are Multiple Generations Experiencing Increased Hearing Loss?
There are several factors contributing to the present increase in hearing loss. One factor is the increased occurrence of common conditions that can cause hearing loss, such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Anxiety and unmanaged stress
- High blood pressure
- Poor diet and a lack of regular exercise
More individuals are experiencing these and associated disorders at younger ages, which contributes to further hearing loss.
Increased prevalence of hearing loss also has a lot to do with lifestyle. In recreational and work areas in particular, it’s becoming more common to be exposed to loud noise. We’re being exposed to loud noises and music in more places and modern technology is getting louder. It’s often the younger age groups who have the highest amount of noise exposure in:
- Shooting ranges
- Bars, clubs, and concerts
Additionally, many people are choosing to wear earbuds and turn their music up to harmful levels. And a greater number of individuals are now making use of painkillers, either to address chronic pain or recreationally. Opiates, ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen will increase your chance of hearing loss especially if used over a long period of time.
How is Hearing Loss as a Health Problem Being Dealt With by Society?
Hearing loss is getting the attention of local, national, and world organizations. They’re doing work to prevent this upward trend by educating the public on hearing loss such as:
- Risk factors
- Treatment possibilities
Individuals are being urged by these organizations to:
- Get their hearing examined sooner in their lives
- Wear their hearing aids
- Identify their level of hearing loss risk
Any delays in these actions make the affect of hearing loss much worse.
Solutions are being sought by government organizations, healthcare providers, and scientists. Hearing aid associated costs are also being addressed. This will help increase accessibility to advanced hearing technologies that significantly improve lives.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with scientists and organizations to create comprehensive strategies. They are integrating awareness, education, and health services to decrease the danger of hearing loss in underserved groups.
Among their efforts, they’ve formulated research-based guidelines for communities, which help local leaders recognize the health impacts of noise. They show what safe noise exposure is, and work with communities to reduce noise exposure for residents. They’re also pushing forward research into how hearing loss is raised with the use and abuse of opiates.
Can You do Anything?
Hearing loss is a public health problem so stay informed. Share practical information with other people and take action to slow the development of your own hearing loss.
If you think you might be experiencing hearing loss, get a hearing exam. Be sure you get and use your hearing aids if you discover that you need them.
The final goal is to avoid all hearing loss. You’re helping other people who have hearing loss understand that they’re not alone when you wear your hearing aids. You’re bringing awareness about the issue of hearing loss in your community. This awareness has the power to improve attitudes, actions, and policies.