Hearing loss is presently a public health concern and scientists believe that it will become a lot more common for individuals in their 20’s to be using hearing aids.
When you think of serious hearing loss, thoughts of elderly people might come to mind. But all age groups have seen a recent increase in hearing loss during the past few years. Increased hearing loss amongst all ages further illustrates that hearing loss isn’t an “aging issue,” but a growing epidemic.
With adults 20 and up, researchers forecast that hearing loss will rise by 40%. The healthcare community views this as a major public health concern. One in five people is, according to John Hopkins medical research, having a difficult time communicating as a result of severe hearing loss.
Let’s find out why experts are so alarmed and what’s contributing to an increase in hearing loss among all age groups.
Hearing Loss Can Lead to Additional Health Concerns
It’s an awful thing to have to go through serious hearing loss. Normal communication becomes challenging, aggravating, and fatiguing. It can cause people to stop doing what they love and disengage from friends and family. If you don’t seek help, it’s virtually impossible to be active while going through severe hearing loss.
Those who have neglected hearing loss suffer from more than diminished hearing. They’re also more likely to develop the following
- Other acute health problems
- Cognitive decline
- Injuries from repeated falls
They’re also more likely to have problems with their personal friendships and might have challenges getting basic needs met.
people who experience hearing loss are impacted in their personal lives and may also have increased:
- Accident rates
- Insurance costs
- Healthcare costs
- Disability rates
- Needs for public assistance
These factors show that hearing loss is a significant challenge we should fight as a society.
What’s Contributing to Increased Hearing Loss in All Generations?
The recent increase in hearing loss can be linked to a number of factors. The increased instances of some common illnesses that trigger hearing loss is one factor, including:
- Poor diet and a lack of regular exercise
- Anxiety and unmanaged stress
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease
More individuals are suffering from these and associated conditions at younger ages, which adds to further hearing loss.
Lifestyle also plays a significant role in the increased occurrence of hearing loss. Exposure to loud noises is more common, particularly in work environments and recreational areas. We’re being exposed to loud sounds 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:
- Bars, clubs, and concerts
- Shooting ranges
Furthermore, many people are choosing to wear earbuds and turn their music up to dangerous volumes. And more people are treating pain with painkillers or using them recreationally. Opiates, ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen will increase your risk of hearing loss especially if used over a long period of time.
How is Society Responding to Hearing Loss as a Health Crisis?
Local, national, and world organizations have recognized the issue. They’re trying to end this upward trend by educating the public on hearing loss such as:
- Treatment possibilities
- Risk factors
These organizations also urge individuals to:
- Have their hearing evaluated sooner in their lives
- Use their hearing aids
- Recognize their level of hearing loss risk
Any delays in these actions make the impact of hearing loss much worse.
Solutions are being looked for by government organizations, healthcare providers, and researchers. They’re also pursuing ways to bring hearing-loss related costs down. This will help increase accessibility to advanced hearing technologies that greatly enhance lives.
Broad approaches are being created by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other organizations as well as scientists. Lowering the risk of hearing loss in underserved communities is being tackled with health services, education, and awareness.
Among their efforts, they’ve created research-based guidelines for communities, which help local leaders understand the health impacts of noise. They work with communities to minimize resident’s noise exposure and instruct them on what safe levels of noise are. In addition, they are facilitating research on how opiate use and abuse can increase the risk of hearing loss.
What You Can do?
Stay informed as hearing loss is a public health issue. Share beneficial information with others and take action to slow the advancement of your own hearing loss.
If you think you may be dealing with hearing loss, have your hearing examined. If you discover you need hearing aids, make sure you wear them.
The ultimate goal is to prevent all hearing loss. You’re helping other people who have hearing loss recognize that they’re not alone when you wear your hearing aids. You’re helping your community become more aware of the problems of hearing loss. Policies, attitudes, and actions will then be changed by this awareness.