Hearing loss is currently a public health problem and scientists think that it will become a lot more common for individuals in their 20’s to be using hearing aids.
Most individuals think of the elderly when they consider extreme hearing loss. But over the past few years, there has been a spike in hearing loss impacting all age groups. Hearing loss clearly isn’t an aging issue it’s a growing epidemic and the rising instances among all age groups illustrates this.
Researchers predict that in the next 40 years, hearing loss rates will double in adults 20 and older. This is seen as a public health issue by the healthcare community. According to John Hopkins medical researchers, one in five individuals is already dealing with hearing loss so severe it makes communication difficult.
Let’s see why experts are so alarmed and what’s contributing to a spike in hearing loss amongst all age groups.
Hearing Loss Can Cause Added Health Concerns
Severe hearing loss is a terrible thing to go through. Communication is frustrating, fatiguing, and demanding every day. People can often withdraw from their friends and family and stop doing the things they love. If you don’t seek help, it’s almost impossible to be active while experiencing significant hearing loss.
It’s not only diminished hearing that people with untreated hearing loss are afflicted by. They’re also more likely to experience the following
- Cognitive decline
- Other acute health conditions
- Injuries from repeated falls
They’re also more likely to have difficulties with their personal relationships and might have trouble getting basic needs met.
Along with the affect on their personal lives, individuals experiencing hearing loss may face increased:
- Needs for public support
- Accident rates
- Healthcare costs
- Insurance costs
- Disability rates
These factors demonstrate that hearing loss is a significant challenge we should deal with as a society.
Why Are Numerous Age Groups Experiencing Increased Hearing Loss?
The current increase in hearing loss can be linked to a number of factors. One factor is the increased incidence of common diseases that can cause hearing loss, such as:
- Poor diet and a lack of consistent exercise
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- Anxiety and unmanaged stress
More individuals are dealing with these and related disorders at younger ages, which leads to further hearing loss.
Lifestyle also plays a major role in the increased prevalence of hearing loss. In work and recreational areas particularly, it’s becoming more common to be exposed to loud sound. Modern technology is frequently loud, and we’re being exposed to loud music and other noises in more places. Young people who frequent the following places have the highest degree of hearing loss:
- Bars, clubs, and concerts
- Shooting ranges
In addition, many individuals are choosing to use earbuds and turn their music up to harmful volumes. And a greater number of individuals are now using painkillers, either to manage chronic pain or recreationally. Opiates, ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen will increase your chance of hearing loss particularly if taken over a long time periods.
How is Hearing Loss as a Health Crisis Being Dealt With by Society?
Hearing loss is getting the attention of local, national, and world organizations. They’re educating the public as a step to slow this growing trend with the following:
- Risk factors
- Treatment possibilities
Individuals are being urged by these organizations to:
- Wear their hearing aids
- Recognize their degree of hearing loss risk
- Get their hearing tested sooner in their lives
Any delays in these actions make the affect of hearing loss substantially worse.
Solutions are being sought by government organizations, healthcare providers, and scientists. Hearing aid associated costs are also being tackled. This will help increase accessibility to advanced hearing technologies that significantly enhance lives.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with scientists and organizations to create in depth strategies. They are incorporating awareness, education, and health services to lower the risk of hearing loss among underserved groups.
Local leaders are being made aware of the health affect of noise by being given researched-based guidelines for communities. They show what safe noise exposure is, and work with communities to decrease noise exposure for residents. In addition, they are furthering research on how opiate use and abuse can increase the chance of hearing loss.
Can You do Anything?
Hearing loss is a public health problem so keep yourself informed. Take measures to slow the progression of your own hearing loss and share helpful information with other people.
If you think you might be suffering from hearing loss, have your hearing examined. Make sure you get and use your hearing aids if you find that you need them.
The ultimate goal is to prevent all hearing loss. You’re helping others 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 challenges of hearing loss. This awareness has the power to improve attitudes, actions, and policies.