Hearing loss is currently a public health issue and scientists believe that it will become a lot more common for individuals in their 20’s to be using hearing aids.
When you consider extreme hearing loss, ideas of elderly people might come to mind. But over the past few years, there has been an increase in hearing loss with all age groups. Increased hearing loss amongst all ages further shows that hearing loss isn’t an “aging issue,” but a growing epidemic.
Among adults 20 and older, scientists forecast that hearing loss will rise by 40%. The healthcare community views this as a major public health issue. According to John Hopkins medical researchers, one in five individuals is currently dealing with hearing loss so severe it makes communication challenging.
Hearing loss is rising among all age groups and here is why researchers think that is.
Hearing Loss Can Lead to Further Health Problems
Serious hearing loss is a terrible thing to go through. Communication is frustrating, exhausting, and challenging every day. It can cause individuals to stop doing what they love and withdraw from family and friends. When you’re enduring significant hearing loss, it will be impossible to be active without seeking help.
It’s not only diminished hearing that individuals with neglected hearing loss suffer from. They’re also more likely to experience the following
- Injuries from recurring falls
- Cognitive decline
- Other severe health conditions
They also have difficulty getting their everyday needs met and are more likely to have problems with personal relationships.
In combination with the affect on their personal lives, people suffering from hearing loss might face increased:
- Disability rates
- Accident rates
- Needs for public assistance
- Healthcare costs
- Insurance costs
These factors indicate that hearing loss is a major challenge we should deal with as a society.
Why Are Multiple Age Groups Experiencing Increased Hearing Loss?
There are several factors causing the recent rise in hearing loss. The increased instances of some common diseases that trigger hearing loss is one factor, including:
- Anxiety and unmanaged stress
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- Poor diet and a lack of consistent exercise
These conditions and other associated 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. In work and recreational areas in particular, it’s becoming more common to be exposed to loud noise. Modern technology is frequently loud, and we’re being exposed to loud music and other sounds in more places. It’s often the younger age groups who have the highest level of noise exposure in:
- Bars, clubs, and concerts
- Shooting ranges
Additionally, many people are choosing to use earbuds and crank their music up to harmful levels. And more individuals are treating pain with painkillers or taking them recreationally. Opiates, aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen will raise your chance of hearing loss especially if used over a long time periods.
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 doing work to stop this upward trend by educating the public on hearing loss such as:
- Treatment possibilities
- Risk factors
These organizations also encourage individuals to:
- Wear their hearing aids
- Recognize their level of hearing loss risk
- Have their hearing examined earlier in their lives
Hearing loss will get worse with any delay in these actions.
Solutions are being looked for by government organizations, healthcare providers, and researchers. Hearing aid associated costs are also being tackled. This will help improve accessibility to state-of-the-art hearing technologies that significantly improve lives.
Broad strategies are being created by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other organizations as well as scientists. Lowering the danger of hearing loss in underserved groups is being tackled with health services, education, and awareness.
Local leaders are being made aware of the health affect of noise by being given researched-based guidelines for communities. They work with communities to decrease resident’s noise exposure and instruct them on what safe levels of noise are. They’re also advancing research into how hearing loss is raised 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 progression of your own hearing loss and share useful information with others.
If you believe you might be experiencing hearing loss, get a hearing exam. If you find you need hearing aids, make sure you wear them.
The main goal is to prevent all hearing loss. When you wear your hearing aids, you help people recognize they’re not alone. You’re bringing awareness about the problem of hearing loss in your community. This awareness has the power to change attitudes, policies, and actions.