Scientists believe 20-somethings with hearing aids will soon become more common as hearing loss is a public health issue.
When you consider severe hearing loss, ideas of elderly people might come to mind. But over the last few years, there has been a surge in hearing loss with all age groups. Increased hearing loss amongst all ages further demonstrates that hearing loss isn’t an “aging issue,” but a growing crisis.
Among adults 20 and up, scientists forecast that hearing loss will rise by 40%. This is viewed as a public health issue by the healthcare community. According to John Hopkins medical researchers, one out of five individuals is currently experiencing hearing loss so severe it makes communication difficult.
Hearing loss is rising amongst all age groups and here is why researchers think that is.
Hearing Loss Can Cause Further Health Issues
Severe hearing loss is a terrible thing to cope with. Normal communication becomes difficult, aggravating, and fatiguing. It can cause individuals to stop doing what they love and disengage from friends and family. When you’re enduring extreme hearing loss, it will be impossible to be active without getting help.
Those who have neglected hearing loss have problems with more than diminished hearing. They’re a lot more likely to experience:
- Other severe health conditions
- Cognitive decline
- Injuries from recurring falls
They also have trouble getting their basic needs met and are more likely to have problems with personal relationships.
In addition to the impact on their personal lives, individuals experiencing hearing loss might face increased:
- Needs for public support
- Insurance costs
- Disability rates
- Healthcare expenses
- Accident rates
We need to fight hearing loss as a society because as these factors show, hearing loss is a significant obstacle.
Why Are Multiple Generations Experiencing Increased Hearing Loss?
There are a number of factors causing the recent increase in hearing loss. The increased instances of some common conditions that cause hearing loss is one factor, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- Anxiety and unmanaged stress
- Poor diet and a lack of regular exercise
More individuals are dealing with these and related disorders at earlier ages, which leads to further hearing loss.
Increased prevalence of hearing loss also has a great deal to do with lifestyle. In recreational and work areas specifically, it’s becoming more common to be exposed to loud sound. We’re being exposed to loud sounds and music in more places and modern technology is getting louder. It’s often the younger people who have the highest amount of noise exposure in:
- Bars, clubs, and concerts
- Shooting ranges
In addition, many individuals are choosing to wear earbuds and turn their music up to harmful volumes. And a larger number of individuals are now using painkillers, either to treat chronic pain or recreationally. Opiates, ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen will raise your risk of hearing loss particularly if taken over a long period of time.
How is Society Reacting to Hearing Loss as a Health Issue?
Hearing loss is getting the attention of local, national, and world organizations. They’re doing work to prevent this upward trend by educating the public on hearing loss such as:
- Treatment options
- Risk factors
Individuals are being encouraged by these organizations to:
- Wear their hearing aids
- Know their level of hearing loss risk
- Have their hearing tested sooner in their lives
Hearing loss will worsen with any delay in these actions.
Scientists, healthcare providers, and government organizations are looking for solutions. They’re also pursuing ways to bring hearing-loss related costs down. 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 develop comprehensive strategies. Decreasing the risk of hearing loss among underserved communities is being tackled with health services, education, and awareness.
Local leaders are being made aware of the health impact of noise by being given researched-based guidelines for communities. They show 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 raised with the use and abuse of opiates.
What You Can do?
Stay informed as hearing loss is a public health issue. Take measures to slow the progression of your own hearing loss and share useful information with other people.
If you believe 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. When you wear your hearing aids, you help people realize they’re not alone. You’re helping your community become more aware of the struggles of hearing loss. This awareness has the power to change attitudes, actions, and policies.