Scientists believe 20-somethings who wear hearing aids will soon become more prevalent as hearing loss is a public health concern.
When you think of extreme hearing loss, thoughts of elderly people may come to mind. But all age groups have had a recent rise in hearing loss over the last few years. Hearing loss obviously isn’t an aging issue it’s a growing crisis and the rising cases among all age groups illustrates this.
With adults 20 and up, scientists forecast that hearing loss will rise by 40%. This is seen as a public health concern by the healthcare community. One out of five individuals is, according to John Hopkins medical research, having a difficult time communicating due to extreme hearing loss.
Let’s look at why experts are so alarmed and what’s causing a spike in hearing loss among all age groups.
Hearing Loss Can Lead to Further Health Issues
It’s an awful thing to have to endure severe hearing loss. Communication is aggravating, fatiguing, and challenging every day. People can frequently withdraw from their family and friends and stop doing the things they love. When you’re going through severe hearing loss, it will be impossible to be active without getting help.
People with untreated hearing loss suffer from more than diminished hearing. They’re also more likely to experience the following
- Injuries from repeated falls
- Cognitive decline
- Other severe health problems
They’re also more likely to have problems with their personal relationships and may have trouble getting basic needs met.
In addition to the impact on their personal lives, individuals experiencing hearing loss may face increased:
- Disability rates
- Healthcare expenses
- Insurance costs
- Accident rates
- Needs for public assistance
These factors demonstrate that hearing loss is a significant obstacle we should combat as a society.
What’s Causing Increased Hearing Loss in All Age Groups?
There are several factors contributing to the present increase in hearing loss. One factor is the increased incidence of common diseases that can lead to hearing loss, such as:
- Anxiety and unmanaged stress
- Poor diet and a lack of consistent exercise
- Cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
More individuals are suffering from these and related conditions at younger ages, which leads to added hearing loss.
Increased prevalence of hearing loss also has a lot to do with lifestyle. Exposure to loud noises is more common, especially in recreation areas and work environments. We’re being exposed to loud sounds and music in more places and modern technology is getting louder. Young people who frequent the following places have the highest level of hearing loss:
- Shooting ranges
- Bars, clubs, and concerts
In addition, many people are choosing to wear earbuds and crank their music up to harmful volumes. And more individuals are treating pain with painkillers or using them recreationally. Opiates, ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen will raise your chance of hearing loss especially if used over a extended time periods.
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:
- Treatment options
- Risk factors
These organizations also encourage individuals to:
- Know their degree of hearing loss risk
- Use their hearing aids
- Get their hearing tested sooner in their lives
Any delays in these activities make the affect of hearing loss significantly worse.
Researchers, healthcare providers, and government organizations are seeking solutions. Hearing aid related costs are also being tackled. Advanced hearing technology will be increased and lives will be significantly improved.
Comprehensive strategies are being formulated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other organizations as well as scientists. Reducing the risk of hearing loss among underserved communities 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 show what safe noise exposure is, and help communities decrease noise exposure for residents. In addition, they’re furthering research on how opiate use and abuse can raise the risk of hearing loss.
Can You do Anything?
Stay informed as hearing loss is a public health issue. Share helpful information with others and take action to slow the development of your own hearing loss.
Get your own hearing examined if you think you are suffering from hearing loss. Be sure you get and wear your hearing aids if you discover that you need them.
Avoiding hearing loss is the main goal. When you wear your hearing aids, you help people realize they’re not alone. You’re bringing awareness about the issue of hearing loss in your community. This awareness has the power to transform attitudes, actions, and policies.