Scientists believe 20-somethings with hearing aids will soon become more prevalent as hearing loss is a public health concern.
Most people think of the elderly when they consider extreme hearing loss. But all age groups have had a recent increase in hearing loss during the last few years. Increased hearing loss amongst all ages further illustrates that hearing loss isn’t an “aging problem,” but a growing epidemic.
Researchers predict that in the next 40 years, hearing loss rates will double among adults 20 and older. This is viewed 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.
Hearing loss is rising among all age groups and here is why experts think that is.
Hearing Loss Can Lead to Additional Health Issues
Severe hearing loss is a horrible thing to go through. Communication is frustrating, fatiguing, and demanding every day. Individuals can often disengage from their family and friends and stop doing the things they love. If you don’t get help, it’s almost impossible to be active while going through severe hearing loss.
People with untreated hearing loss suffer from more than diminished hearing. They’re far more likely to develop:
- Cognitive decline
- Other acute health problems
- Injuries from recurring falls
They also have trouble getting their basic needs met and are more likely to have difficulties with personal relationships.
Individuals who experience hearing loss are affected in their personal lives and could also have increased:
- Disability rates
- Accident rates
- Needs for public assistance
- Healthcare expenses
- Insurance costs
We need to combat hearing loss as a society because as these factors indicate, hearing loss is a real obstacle.
Why Are Multiple Age Groups Encountering Increased Hearing Loss?
The recent rise in hearing loss can be linked to several factors. The increased instances of some common illnesses that trigger hearing loss is one factor, including:
- Anxiety and unmanaged stress
- Cardiovascular disease
- Poor diet and a lack of regular exercise
- High blood pressure
These disorders and other associated conditions are contributing to increased hearing loss because they’re affecting people at earlier ages.
Increased prevalence of hearing loss also has a great deal to do with lifestyle. In work and recreational areas particularly, 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. It’s often the younger people who have the highest level of noise exposure in:
- Shooting ranges
- Bars, clubs, and concerts
Furthermore, many people are choosing to use earbuds and crank their music up to dangerous levels. And a larger number of individuals are now making use of painkillers, either to manage chronic pain or recreationally. Opiates, aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen will increase your chance of hearing loss especially if used over a extended period of time.
How is Society Reacting to Hearing Loss as a Health Crisis?
Local, national, and world organizations have recognized the problem. They’re working to prevent this upward trend by educating the public on hearing loss such as:
- Treatment possibilities
- Risk factors
These organizations also encourage individuals to:
- Use their hearing aids
- Know their level of hearing loss risk
- Get their hearing examined earlier in their lives
Any delays in these actions make the impact of hearing loss significantly worse.
Scientists, healthcare providers, and government organizations are looking for solutions. They’re also pursuing ways to bring hearing-loss associated costs down. Advanced hearing technology will be increased and lives will be substantially enhanced.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with scientists and organizations to create comprehensive strategies. Reducing the risk of hearing loss among underserved groups is being tackled 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 reduce resident’s noise exposure and instruct them on what safe levels of noise are. 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 problem so remain informed. Take steps to slow the development of your own hearing loss and share practical information with other people.
Have your own hearing examined if you believe you’re suffering from hearing loss. If you discover you need hearing aids, be sure to wear them.
Preventing hearing loss is the main goal. You’re helping others who are dealing with hearing loss realize 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. Policies, attitudes, and actions will then be transformed by this awareness.