Do you suffer from hearing loss? You may not even know it. Hearing loss often sneaks up on people and before they know it, they are struggling to hear even in the most ideal of situations. The sooner you detect and address a hearing loss the better. On March 3rd get ready for World Hearing Day, a worldwide campaign led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness around hearing loss and promote protection, screening, and treatment. This year’s theme is “Ear and Hearing Care for All!” In honor of World Hearing Day we urge you to celebrate by scheduling a hearing exam for you and your loved ones.
Hearing Loss Affects People of All Ages!
WHO reports that hearing loss is estimated to affect 466 million people worldwide, and this number is projected to nearly double to around 900 million by 2050 if changes don’t happen on an individual and systemic level. While hearing loss is commonly associated with old age, recent reports find that nearly 1.1 billion people between the age of 12 and 35 struggle with disabling hearing loss due to exposure to loud noise from entertainment venues and headphone use.
Understanding How to Prevent Hearing Loss
Part of the mission of World Hearing Day is to provide education on a greater scale of the many risks of hearing loss for people of all ages. While presbycusis, also known as age related hearing loss, is the most common cause of hearing loss, it is not a normal part of aging as many misconstrue. Lifestyle changes when you are young can support your hearing for years to come.
Knowing the Causes of Hearing Loss
Noise induced hearing loss: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report “an estimated 12.5% of children and adolescents aged 6–19 years (approximately 5.2 million) and 17% of adults aged 20–69 years (approximately 26 million) have suffered permanent damage to their hearing from excessive exposure to noise.” This can happen in the workplace, during recreation, or even while relaxing at home. It’s important to know the decibels of sound in the places you spend the most time at. The safe threshold for listening ends at 85 dBA for eight hours or more. After this point the louder the sound the shorter the exposure time. Be sure to wear hearing protection any time you are exposed to dangerous levels of sound and be sure to take listening breaks.
Ototoxic medications and chemicals: Some chemicals and medications are considered ototoxic because they cause damage to the tiny hair-like cells of the inner ear which send sound to the brain. The list of ototoxic chemicals includes environmental toxins such as carbon monoxide from car exhausts as well as common solvents used in many industrial working environments. Ototoxic medications include some antibiotics, diuretics, chemotherapy drugs and even over the counter medications such as acetaminophen.
Chronic illness: Some illnesses which affect the integrity of the cells throughout the body, including the inner ear include cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension.
Impact to the head: an impact to the head during contact sports, biking, skateboarding or automobile accidents can damage the brain and hearing.
The Impact of Hearing Loss
When hearing loss goes unaddressed it can be more serious than people understand. Part of World Hearing Day is making sure that people understand just how important it is to address issues around hearing as soon as possible. Commonly misunderstood as just an ear issue, when sounds struggle to reach the brain, they become a serious communication issue. This can make it difficult to connect to the people in your life at home, out and about and in a working environment.
On a personal level this can lead to chronic depression, social anxiety and self isolation. On an economic level, hearing loss has been found to negatively impact household income on-average up to $12,000 per year depending on the degree of loss. The good news is that by addressing hearing issues with hearing aids has been found to mitigate the negative effects on earnings by 50%!
Celebrate World Hearing Day
One way you can celebrate World Hearing Day is by scheduling an appointment to test your hearing with us. We can diagnose the extent of your hearing ability and recommend the best plan of action to keep you hearing and enjoying your life for years to come. Contact us today!