Scientists believe 20-somethings with hearing aids will soon become more common as hearing loss is a public health issue.
When you consider extreme hearing loss, thoughts of elderly people might come to mind. But over the past few years, there has been a surge in hearing loss impacting all age groups. Hearing loss clearly isn’t an aging issue it’s an increasing crisis and the rising cases among all age groups illustrates this.
Researchers predict that in the next 40 years, hearing loss rates will double among adults 20 and older. The healthcare community sees this as a major public health problem. One in five people is, according to John Hopkins medical research, having a hard time communicating as a result of extreme hearing loss.
Let’s find out why experts are so worried and what’s contributing to an increase in hearing loss among all age groups.
Hearing Loss Can Trigger Further Health Concerns
It’s a horrible thing to have to go through severe hearing loss. Communication is aggravating, fatiguing, and demanding every day. It can cause individuals to stop doing what they enjoy and disengage from family and friends. When you’re going through significant hearing loss, it will be impossible to be active without getting help.
Those who have untreated hearing loss are afflicted by more than diminished hearing. They’re also more likely to experience the following
- Other severe health conditions
- Injuries from recurring falls
- Cognitive decline
They also have difficulty getting their basic needs met and are more likely to have problems with personal relationships.
Individuals who experience hearing loss are impacted in their personal lives and could also have increased:
- Accident rates
- Healthcare costs
- Insurance rates
- Disability rates
- Needs for public assistance
We need to combat hearing loss as a society because as these factors show, hearing loss is a significant obstacle.
What’s Contributing to Increased Hearing Loss Across Multiple Age Groups?
There are several factors causing the present rise in hearing loss. One factor is the increased incidence of common diseases that can cause hearing loss, such as:
- Anxiety and unmanaged stress
- Cardiovascular disease
- Poor diet and a lack of regular exercise
- High blood pressure
More individuals are dealing with these and associated disorders at younger ages, which leads to additional hearing loss.
Lifestyle also plays a major role in the increased incidence of hearing loss. Exposure to loud noises is more prevalent, especially in recreation areas and work environments. We’re being exposed to loud noises and music in more places and modern technology is getting louder. It’s often the younger age groups who have the highest level of noise exposure in:
- Bars, clubs, and concerts
- Shooting ranges
Also, many people are cranking the volume of their music up to harmful volumes and are using earbuds. And a greater number of people are now making use of painkillers, either to manage chronic pain or recreationally. Prolonged, regular use of opiates, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin have also been associated with a higher risk of hearing loss.
How is Society Responding to Hearing Loss as a Health Crisis?
Local, national, and world organizations have taken notice. They’re educating the public as a measure to reduce this growing trend with the following:
- Risk factors
- Treatment possibilities
Individuals are being urged by these organizations to:
- Wear their hearing aids
- Get their hearing evaluated sooner in their lives
- Know their degree of hearing loss risk
Any delays in these activities make the impact of hearing loss a lot worse.
Solutions are being looked for by government organizations, healthcare providers, and scientists. Hearing aid related costs are also being tackled. This will help improve accessibility to state-of-the-art hearing technologies that greatly improve lives.
Comprehensive strategies are being formulated by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other organizations as well as scientists. They are combining awareness, education, and health services to decrease the danger of hearing loss among underserved groups.
Among their contributions, they’ve created research-based guidelines for communities, which help local leaders understand the health affects of noise. They show what safe noise exposure is, and help communities reduce 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?
Hearing loss is a public health issue so stay informed. Take steps to slow the progression of your own hearing loss and share useful information with people.
Have your own hearing checked if you think you’re experiencing hearing loss. Be sure you get and wear your hearing aids if you discover that you need them.
Preventing hearing loss is the main goal. You’re helping other people who are dealing with hearing loss understand 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 improve attitudes, actions, and policies.