Hearing loss is currently a public health concern and scientists think that it will become a lot more common for people in their 20’s to be wearing hearing aids.
When you think of extreme hearing loss, ideas of elderly people may come to mind. But over the past few years, there has been a surge in hearing loss with all age groups. Increased hearing loss in all ages further shows that hearing loss isn’t an “aging issue,” but a growing crisis.
With adults 20 and up, researchers forecast that hearing loss will rise by 40%. This is seen as a public health concern by the healthcare community. One out of five individuals is, according to John Hopkins medical research, having a difficult time communicating as a result of severe hearing loss.
Let’s see why experts are so concerned and what’s causing a spike in hearing loss amongst all age groups.
Added Health Problems Can be The Consequence of Hearing Loss
Severe hearing loss is an awful thing to go through. Communication is aggravating, exhausting, and challenging every day. It can cause people to stop doing what they love and withdraw from family and friends. When you’re experiencing extreme hearing loss, it will be impossible to be active without seeking help.
Those with neglected hearing loss are afflicted by more than diminished hearing. They’re a lot more likely to experience:
- Other severe health problems
- Cognitive decline
- Injuries from recurring falls
They also have difficulty getting their basic needs met and are more likely to have problems with personal relationships.
In combination with the affect on their personal lives, people going through hearing loss may face increased:
- Disability rates
- Insurance costs
- Accident rates
- Healthcare costs
- Needs for public support
These factors show that hearing loss is a major obstacle we need to deal with as a society.
Why Are Numerous Age Groups Encountering Increased Hearing Loss?
The recent increase in hearing loss can be linked to several factors. One factor is the increased incidence of common diseases that can lead to hearing loss, including:
- High blood pressure
- Anxiety and unmanaged stress
- Poor diet and a lack of consistent exercise
- Cardiovascular disease
More individuals are experiencing these and related conditions at earlier ages, which contributes to additional hearing loss.
Lifestyle also plays an important role in the increased incidence of hearing loss. Exposure to loud sounds is more common, particularly in recreation areas and work environments. 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:
- Bars, clubs, and concerts
- Shooting ranges
Furthermore, many people are choosing to wear earbuds and turn their music up to dangerous levels. And a larger number of people are now making use of painkillers, either to treat chronic pain or recreationally. Prolonged, regular use of opiates, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin have also been connected with a higher danger of hearing loss.
How is Society Responding to Hearing Loss as a Health Crisis?
Local, national, and world organizations have taken notice. They’re working to stop this upward trend by educating the public on hearing loss such as:
- Risk factors
- Treatment options
Individuals are being prompted by these organizations to:
- Identify their level of hearing loss risk
- Use their hearing aids
- Get their hearing evaluated earlier in their lives
Any delays in these actions make the impact of hearing loss a lot worse.
Solutions are being looked for by government organizations, healthcare providers, and researchers. Hearing aid related costs are also being tackled. This will help increase accessibility to advanced hearing technologies that greatly improve lives.
Broad strategies are being developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other organizations as well as scientists. Lowering the risk of hearing loss among underserved communities is being tackled with health services, education, and awareness.
Among their contributions, they’ve formulated research-based guidelines for communities, which help local leaders understand the health affects of noise. They describe what safe noise exposure is, and work with communities to minimize noise exposure for residents. They’re also pushing forward research into how hearing loss is increased with the use and abuse of opiates.
What You Can do?
Hearing loss is a public health issue so remain informed. Take measures to slow the development of your own hearing loss and share useful information with people.
Get your own hearing tested if you suspect you are experiencing hearing loss. Make sure you get and use your hearing aids if you find that you need them.
The final goal is to avoid all hearing loss. When you wear your hearing aids, you help people recognize they’re not alone. You’re bringing awareness about the issue of hearing loss in your community. Policies, attitudes, and actions will then be changed by this awareness.