Scientists think that 20-somethings with hearing aids will soon become more common as hearing loss is a public health issue.
When you think of severe hearing loss, thoughts of elderly people may come to mind. But all age groups have seen a recent increase in hearing loss over the last few years. Increased hearing loss among all ages further illustrates that hearing loss isn’t an “aging problem,” but a growing epidemic.
With adults 20 and older, scientists predict that hearing loss will increase by 40%. This is seen as a public health problem by the healthcare community. According to John Hopkins medical researchers, one out of five people is already suffering from hearing loss so extreme it makes communication difficult.
Let’s look at why experts are so alarmed and what’s causing a spike in hearing loss amongst all age groups.
Hearing Loss Can Cause Added Health Problems
It’s a terrible thing to have to endure severe hearing loss. Day-to-day communication becomes difficult, aggravating, and fatiguing. It can cause people to stop doing what they love and withdraw from family and friends. If you don’t seek help, it’s nearly impossible to be active while suffering from significant hearing loss.
Individuals who have untreated hearing loss are afflicted by more than diminished hearing. They’re much more likely to experience:
- Injuries from repeated falls
- Cognitive decline
- Other acute health conditions
They’re also more likely to have difficulties with their personal friendships and may have trouble getting basic needs met.
Individuals who endure hearing loss are affected in their personal lives and may also have increased:
- Insurance costs
- Healthcare expenses
- Accident rates
- Needs for public assistance
- Disability rates
These factors reveal that hearing loss is a major obstacle we should fight as a society.
Why Are Numerous Age Groups Experiencing Increased Hearing Loss?
There are a number of factors contributing to the recent rise in hearing loss. One factor is the increased occurrence of common conditions that can cause hearing loss, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Poor diet and a lack of regular exercise
- Anxiety and unmanaged stress
- High blood pressure
More individuals are dealing with these and related conditions at younger ages, which adds to added hearing loss.
Increased prevalence of hearing loss also has a lot to do with lifestyle. In work and recreational areas in particular, it’s becoming more common to be exposed to loud noise. We’re being exposed to loud sounds and music in more places and modern technology is getting louder. Young people who regularly go to the following places have the highest level of hearing loss:
- Shooting ranges
- Bars, clubs, and concerts
Furthermore, many individuals are choosing to use earbuds and turn their music up to harmful volumes. And more people are managing pain with painkillers or taking them recreationally. Continued, regular use of opiates, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin have also been associated with an increased danger of hearing loss.
How is Society Responding to Hearing Loss as a Health Issue?
Local, national, and world organizations have recognized the problem. They’re trying to stop this upward trend by educating the public on hearing loss such as:
- Risk factors
- Treatment options
These organizations also motivate individuals to:
- Know their level of hearing loss risk
- Wear their hearing aids
- Get their hearing checked sooner in their lives
Any delays in these actions make the impact of hearing loss much worse.
Researchers, healthcare providers, and government organizations are trying to find solutions. Hearing aid associated costs are also being tackled. State-of-the-art hearing technology will be increased and lives will be substantially improved.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with scientists and organizations to formulate in depth strategies. Reducing the danger of hearing loss among underserved groups is being addressed 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. Additionally, they are furthering research on how opiate use and abuse can increase the risk of hearing loss.
What You Can do?
Stay informed because hearing loss is a public health problem. Share beneficial information with other people and take action to slow the advancement of your own hearing loss.
Have your own hearing tested if you suspect you are suffering from hearing loss. Make sure you get and use your hearing aids if you learn that you need them.
Avoiding hearing loss is the main goal. When you wear your hearing aids, you help people see they’re not alone. 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.