Hearing loss is presently a public health issue and scientists believe that it will become much more common for individuals in their 20’s to be using hearing aids.
When you consider severe hearing loss, ideas of elderly people may come to mind. But over the last few years, there has been a surge in hearing loss impacting all age groups. Increased hearing loss in all ages further shows that hearing loss isn’t an “aging issue,” but a growing epidemic.
Researchers predict that in the next 40 years, hearing loss cases will double in adults 20 and older. This is viewed as a public health problem by the healthcare community. One in five people is, according to John Hopkins medical research, having a difficult time communicating due to severe hearing loss.
Hearing loss is increasing amongst all age groups and here is why researchers think that is.
Hearing Loss Can Cause Added Health Concerns
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 love. If you don’t seek help, it’s virtually impossible to be active while enduring significant hearing loss.
It’s not only diminished hearing that people with untreated hearing loss suffer from. They’re far more likely to develop:
- Cognitive decline
- Other serious health conditions
- Injuries from recurring falls
They’re also more likely to have difficulties with their personal friendships and may have trouble getting basic needs met.
Along with the impact on their personal lives, individuals going through hearing loss might face increased:
- Insurance rates
- Disability rates
- Healthcare expenses
- Needs for public support
- Accident rates
These factors indicate that hearing loss is a major obstacle we should combat as a society.
What’s Contributing to Increased Hearing Loss in Multiple Ages?
The current increase in hearing loss can be attributed to several factors. One factor is the increased incidence of common conditions that can cause hearing loss, such as:
- Poor diet and a lack of consistent exercise
- Cardiovascular disease
- Anxiety and unmanaged stress
- High blood pressure
These disorders and other related conditions are contributing to additional hearing loss because they’re happening to people at earlier ages.
Lifestyle also plays a significant role in the increased incidence of hearing loss. Exposure to loud noises is more prevalent, especially in recreation areas and work environments. Modern technology is often loud, and we’re being exposed to loud music and other sounds in more places. Young people who regularly go to the following places have the highest degree of hearing loss:
- Shooting ranges
- Bars, clubs, and concerts
Furthermore, many individuals are choosing to wear earbuds and turn their music up to dangerous levels. And a larger number of individuals are now making use of painkillers, either to address chronic pain or recreationally. Continued, regular use of opiates, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin have also been linked to an increased danger of hearing loss.
How is Society Reacting to Hearing Loss as a Health Crisis?
Hearing loss is getting the attention of local, national, and world organizations. They’re trying to stop this upward trend by educating the public on hearing loss such as:
- Risk factors
- Treatment options
Individuals are being encouraged by these organizations to:
- Have their hearing tested sooner in their lives
- Use their hearing aids
- Know their level of hearing loss risk
Any delays in these actions make the affect of hearing loss significantly worse.
Scientists, healthcare providers, and government organizations are looking for solutions. Hearing aid associated costs are also being addressed. This will help improve accessibility to state-of-the-art hearing technologies that significantly improve lives.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with scientists and organizations to create in depth strategies. They are integrating education, awareness, and health services to decrease the danger of hearing loss among underserved groups.
Local leaders are being educated on the health affect of noise by being given researched-based guidelines for communities. They work with communities to minimize resident’s noise exposure and teach what safe levels of noise are. They’re also advancing research into how hearing loss is raised with the use and abuse of opiates.
Can You do Anything?
Hearing loss is a public health issue so remain informed. Share helpful information with others and take steps to slow the advancement of your own hearing loss.
Get your own hearing examined if you believe you are suffering from hearing loss. If you find you need hearing aids, make sure you wear them.
Stopping hearing loss is the ultimate goal. When you wear your hearing aids, you help people realize 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.