Hearing Loss is Increasing, Even Among Younger People

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Scientists believe 20-somethings who wear hearing aids will soon become more common as hearing loss is a public health concern.

When you think of serious hearing loss, thoughts of elderly people might come to mind. But all age groups have seen a recent increase in hearing loss over the past few years. Hearing loss obviously isn’t an aging problem it’s a growing crisis and the rising cases among all age groups demonstrates this.

Researchers predict within the next 40 years, hearing loss rates will double in adults 20 and older. This is viewed as a public health issue by the healthcare community. One in five individuals is, according to John Hopkins medical research, having a difficult time communicating as a result of extreme hearing loss.

Hearing loss is increasing amongst all age groups and here is why researchers think that is.

Hearing Loss Can Lead to Additional Health Problems

It’s an awful thing to have to endure severe hearing loss. Communication is aggravating, fatiguing, and challenging every day. It can cause people to stop doing what they enjoy and disengage from family and friends. When you’re enduring extreme hearing loss, it will be impossible to be active without seeking help.

Those with untreated hearing loss suffer from more than diminished hearing. They’re also more likely to experience the following

  • Dementia
  • Cognitive decline
  • Depression
  • Other serious health conditions
  • Injuries from repeated falls
  • Anxiety

They’re also more likely to have problems with their personal relationships and might have trouble getting basic needs met.

In combination with the impact on their personal lives, people experiencing hearing loss might face increased:

  • Healthcare expenses
  • Accident rates
  • Disability rates
  • Insurance rates
  • Needs for public assistance

These factors reveal that hearing loss is a significant obstacle we need to fight as a society.

What’s Contributing to Increased Hearing Loss Across Multiple Generations?

There are several factors causing the current increase in hearing loss. One factor is the increased incidence of common diseases that can cause hearing loss, including:

  • Poor diet and a lack of consistent exercise
  • Anxiety and unmanaged stress
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Obesity

These disorders and other related conditions are contributing to increased hearing loss because they’re happening to people at younger ages.

Increased prevalence of hearing loss also has a lot to do with lifestyle. Exposure to loud sounds is more prevalent, particularly in recreation areas and work environments. We’re being exposed to loud noises and music in more places and modern technology is getting louder. Young people who frequent the following places have the highest degree of hearing loss:

  • Shooting ranges
  • Gyms
  • Factories
  • Bars, clubs, and concerts

Furthermore, many individuals are choosing to use earbuds and turn their music up to harmful volumes. And more people are treating pain with painkillers or taking them recreationally. Opiates, ibuprofen, aspirin, and acetaminophen will raise your chance of hearing loss particularly if used over a extended time periods.

How is Hearing Loss as a Health Issue Being Dealt With by Society?

Hearing loss is getting the attention of local, national, and world organizations. They’re working to prevent this upward trend by educating the public on hearing loss such as:

  • Treatment possibilities
  • Risk factors
  • Prevention
  • Research

These organizations also motivate individuals to:

  • Have their hearing evaluated sooner in their lives
  • Use their hearing aids
  • Recognize their level of hearing loss risk

Any delays in these activities make the impact of hearing loss substantially worse.

Solutions are being looked for by government organizations, healthcare providers, and scientists. Hearing aid associated costs are also being addressed. This will help increase accessibility to advanced hearing technologies that greatly improve lives.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with scientists and organizations to formulate comprehensive strategies. Reducing the danger of hearing loss in underserved communities is being addressed with health services, education, and awareness.

Among their efforts, they’ve created research-based guidelines for communities, which help local leaders understand the health affects of noise. They work with communities to reduce resident’s noise exposure and teach what safe levels of noise are. They’re also pushing forward research into how hearing loss is increased with the use and abuse of opiates.

Can You do Anything?

Stay informed because hearing loss is a public health problem. Take measures to slow the progression of your own hearing loss and share helpful information with others.

Get your own hearing examined if you suspect you’re experiencing hearing loss. Make sure you get and use your hearing aids if you learn that you need them.

Avoiding hearing loss is the ultimate goal. You’re helping others who are dealing with hearing loss recognize 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, policies, and actions.