Do you know someone with hearing loss? Chances are likely. In the United States, hearing loss is the 3rd most chronic health condition facing people 70 years and older, however, the risk of hearing loss isn’t for just older adults. People of all ages across the world are at risk for hearing loss. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 466 million people worldwide struggle with hearing loss and this number is projected to double by 20250 to approximately 900 million if world perceptions don’t change on an institutional level as well as a shift in public perception around the importance of treating hearing loss. March 3rd is World Hearing Day, an international campaign led by WHO to increase understanding around the importance of prevention and treatment of this wide-sweeping health concern. The theme for 2023 is “Ear and Hearing Care For All!” Let’s explore why this includes you and just about everyone you know.
The Dangers of Avoiding Hearing Loss
Hearing loss isn’t just for old people. While it is true that one in three over the age of 65 have hearing loss and half of those 75 years and older, hearing loss affects people regardless of age, race, economic background, or any other demographic. One of the largest issues with hearing loss is that people don’t understand the risk or the consequences of avoiding treatment.
Hearing loss starts as an ear issue but affects our day-to-day communication. We as humans are social creatures. The longer we put off hearing loss, the more our ability to communicate is impacted. Over time, those connected to our daily life start to feel alienated as you fail to hear what they say. In its place in our home life, compassion is replaced with resentment or contempt as misunderstandings proliferate. For the person affected this can build up into loneliness, isolation, and chronic depression.
On a cognitive health level, issues hearing parts of words forces our brain to work harder to listen which can put a strain on overall cognitive performance over time. Untreated and depending on the degree of loss the risk of dementia increases proportionately. For those with a moderate loss, the risk is doubled, with a severe loss the risk is tripled and for a profound loss, the risk is increased fivefold!
Issues With Access
When it comes to access to hearing care, many people around the world simply do not have the resources they need to procure treatment. People across the world with fewer economic resources struggle to obtain hearing care and are often more exposed to risk factors of hearing loss without preventative measures taken. Whether they live in remote areas prohibitively far from treatment centers or do not have the capital to buy hearing aids or other assistive technology, the World Health Organization is working at the level of governments and policymakers to advocate for increased access. One way to improve this access is to allocate resources for hearing healthcare to poorer countries and through government and international programs.
Avoidance of Hearing Care
While 90 percent of hearing loss is irreversible sensorineural hearing loss affecting the health of the cells which send audio signals from the ear to the brain, it’s important people understand the importance of treating hearing loss with hearing aids. These amazing digital devices are getting smaller, easier to use, and more powerful than ever before. They make it easier to hear in difficult listening situations such as noisy places and communicate in any situation which comes your way.
However, people often avoid treatment worldwide due to lack of access, lack of resources, or stigmas of hearing aids as a sign of old age. Due to the technological advancements in hearing aids, they have more power and more effect in enhancing daily conversations across all your interactions.
Schedule a Hearing Exam for World Hearing Day
This March 3rd, use World Hearing Day as the excuse you need to address a possible hearing loss for yourself. No matter your age, you are never too young to test your hearing. Join the fight against world hearing loss by scheduling a hearing exam for you and your family!