There is a lot to keep up with in our day to day. When you have hearing loss it can feel nearly impossible to feel on top of things. This is because it requires more energy than it would otherwise to listen, retain information and respond. As a result it can feel like you are missing important details and feeling exhausted by even minor social interactions.
March 3rd is World Hearing Day—a national hearing campaign led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness around this devastating condition worldwide. This year we urge you to use March 3rd as a call to action which can start with you and your family.
Hearing Loss Trends Across the World
WHO estimates that approximately 6.1% (466 million) people across the world experience some form of hearing loss. Of that number, 93% (432 million) of those facing hearing loss are adults, while 7% (34 million) are children. Within the older demographic, those 65 and over, approximately one-third are impacted by hearing loss with this number rising to half of all 75 and older. As age expectancy and the large baby boomer population enters an older adult demographic the overall number of people worldwide with hearing loss is only expected to rise. By 2050 WHO projects that the toll of world hearing loss may reach 900 million if the causes of hearing loss and prevention methods are not widely understood and adopted on personal and institutional levels. For this reason WHO stresses World Hearing Day as a wakeup call across the world to take our hearing health into our own hands.
Causes of Hearing Loss
Understanding the causes of hearing loss is one of the first steps to fighting world hearing loss. The most common risk factor for hearing loss is age, and while that can’t be prevented, lifestyle choices throughout your life from childhood to adulthood can help maintain improved hearing health later in life. A healthy diet rich in vegetables and lean proteins can go a long way into supporting healthy blood flow. In connection with regular exercise and avoiding vices such as smoking, and drinking can improve the health of the cells in the inner ear which send audio waves from the ears to the brain. Chronic health conditions which increase in likelihood as we age include hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease can interrupt vital blood flow to the cells to the ears, contributing to healthy hearing. Heart health is hearing health, so it’s important to take care of your entire health system.
Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Loud noise is one of the leading causes of hearing loss for a younger generation. WHO estimates that 1.1 billion people currently have sustained damage to their hearing due to unsafe listening practices with personal listening devices and at entertainment venues. A rule of thumb is to take listening breaks and step away from a loud sound or wear hearing protection to lower the risk of noise induced hearing damage. The louder the sound the shorter the amount of time it takes for damage to occur. If you have to shout to hear someone three feet or more, you should wear earplugs or step away from the source of noise.
Early Detection and Intervention
One key in sustained health as we age is detecting hearing loss early. Even a minor hearing loss has been found to cause people to score lower on cognitive testing. As hearing loss progresses it increases the risk of cognitive decline and even dementia earlier in life.
In addition, unaddressed hearing loss is a quality-of-life issue, affecting your ability to connect to the people in your life, stay essential in your workplace and support the safety of you and everyone around you. Now that you understand the importance of treating hearing loss, taking the next step seems like the only clear choice. Invest in a higher quality of life by investing in hearing care.
Schedule a Hearing Exam on World Hearing Day
The most common treatment is hearing aids. These amazing electronic devices can improve your everyday communication as well as your total health in the long run. One of the best ways you can join the fight against world hearing loss is by scheduling a hearing exam today!