Hearing loss is currently a public health concern and scientists think that it will become a lot more common for individuals in their 20’s to be using hearing aids.
When you think of severe hearing loss, ideas of elderly people might come to mind. But all age groups have seen a recent rise in hearing loss during the past few years. Increased hearing loss in all ages further shows that hearing loss isn’t an “aging problem,” but a growing crisis.
Scientists predict that in the next 40 years, hearing loss rates will double among adults 20 and older. The healthcare community views this as a significant public health issue. According to John Hopkins medical researchers, one out of five people is currently suffering from hearing loss so severe it makes communication challenging.
Hearing loss is increasing among all age groups and here is why researchers think that is.
Hearing Loss Can Cause Additional Health Problems
Severe hearing loss is an awful thing to experience. Communication is frustrating, fatiguing, and challenging every day. It can cause individuals to stop doing what they love and withdraw from family and friends. When you’re suffering from extreme hearing loss, it will be impossible to be active without seeking help.
Individuals with untreated hearing loss have problems with more than diminished hearing. They’re much more likely to develop:
- Other serious health conditions
- Injuries from recurring falls
- Cognitive decline
They also have trouble getting their everyday needs met and are more likely to have problems with personal relationships.
Individuals who experience hearing loss are affected in their personal lives and may also have increased:
- Disability rates
- Needs for public support
- Insurance costs
- Accident rates
- Healthcare costs
We need to combat hearing loss as a society because as these factors show, hearing loss is a significant obstacle.
What’s Causing Increased Hearing Loss in All Ages?
The current rise in hearing loss can be attributed to a number of factors. One factor is the increased occurrence of common diseases that can cause hearing loss, such as:
- High blood pressure
- Anxiety and unmanaged stress
- Cardiovascular disease
- Poor diet and a lack of regular exercise
These disorders and other related conditions are contributing to increased hearing loss because they’re affecting people at younger ages.
Increased prevalence of hearing loss also has a great deal to do with lifestyle. In work and recreational areas specifically, it’s becoming more common to be exposed to loud noise. 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 level of hearing loss:
- Bars, clubs, and concerts
- Shooting ranges
Moreover, many people are turning the volume of their music up to hazardous volumes and are wearing earbuds. And a larger number of individuals are now making use of painkillers, either to manage chronic pain or recreationally. Long-term, frequent 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 educating the public as a measure to slow this rising trend with the following:
- Treatment options
- Risk factors
Individuals are being encouraged by these organizations to:
- Wear their hearing aids
- Identify their level of hearing loss risk
- Get their hearing evaluated sooner in their lives
Any delays in these actions make the affect of hearing loss significantly worse.
Solutions are being sought by government organizations, healthcare providers, and scientists. Hearing aid associated costs are also being tackled. This will help improve accessibility to state-of-the-art hearing technologies that greatly enhance lives.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with scientists and organizations to develop in depth strategies. They are combining education, awareness, and health services to reduce the risk of hearing loss in underserved groups.
Among their efforts, they’ve created research-based guidelines for communities, which help local leaders recognize the health impacts of noise. They work with communities to minimize resident’s noise exposure and teach what safe levels of noise are. They’re also pushing forward research into how hearing loss is raised with the use and abuse of opiates.
What You Can do?
Hearing loss is a public health problem so remain informed. Take measures to slow the development of your own hearing loss and share helpful information with other people.
Have your own hearing examined if you believe you are experiencing hearing loss. If you find you need hearing aids, be sure to wear them.
Stopping hearing loss is the ultimate goal. You’re helping other people who have hearing loss realize that they’re not alone when you wear your hearing aids. You’re bringing awareness about the problem of hearing loss in your community. This awareness has the power to transform attitudes, actions, and policies.