Young girl with hand on ear - what did you say?

Celebrate World Hearing Day: Ear and hearing care for all!

Want to make a change in your life? March is almost here and while for many this means the start of Spring; we here like to focus on World Health Day which is coming up on March 3rd. This annual celebration is led by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a way to promote the importance of prevention, early detection and treatment of hearing loss. This year’s theme is “Ear and hearing care for all” and while we can’t help everyone all at once, we understand that change can happen on an individual level—that change could start with you!

Global Hearing Loss Facts and Figures

Worldwide hearing loss affects an estimated 466 million people. A common misconception is that hearing loss only affects older individuals. While older adults are the most affected, including one in three 65 or older or one in two 75 years or older, WHO projects that nearly 1.1 billion people between the ages of 12 and 35 are at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe levels of noise exposure. If attitudes around hearing loss don’t change WHO projects that by 2050 over 900 million will have disabling hearing loss.

Widespread Impacts of Hearing Loss

For years the severity of hearing loss has been downplayed by insurance companies perhaps due to inadequate research or as a way to avoid covering this life saving treatment. Today we understand the wide-reaching effects of untreated hearing loss and are hoping the rest of the world will as well.

When hearing loss sets in it most often starts slowly with the loss of certain pitches or tones. Most people are not aware of this loss, still they may struggle to receive these sounds in their brain affecting speech comprehension on a subtle but impactful level. You may feel more exhausted after a simple social interaction as well as frustrated and confused. This can add up affecting your performance and earnings at work. “Adults with hearing loss are more likely to be unemployed and, on average, earn significantly lower wages, “ according to a 2012 study published in Annals of Otology, Rhinology & Laryngology

On a personal level you may be feeling this impact on your social life and even at home with your family and significant other. Hearing loss wedges itself between you and continuing to grow close to the people you love. The strength of relationships is often based on ability to communicate and when hearing loss goes unaddressed it can cause feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Quickly untreated hearing loss can lead to chronic depression, lack of mobility and health issues associated. Our health is interconnected, so an untreated hearing loss all too often starts to affect our other health choices. It even puts us at a higher risk for cognitive decline and dementia and increases our risk of suffering falls or accidents which can result in hospitalization or death.

The Causes of Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is often associated with old age, however more and more young people are suffering hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices at work or for recreation. It’s important to wear hearing protection whenever engaging in loud activities and turn down the volume of your headphones to 60 percent of their potential volume. Still many are surprised that there are other causes of hearing loss. This can include impact to the head during sports or automobile accidents, exposure to environmental toxins, certain medications or on-going health conditions which impede the regular flow of blood to the inner ear where tiny cells are the sole transport of sound from the ear to the brain. All of these causes of hearing loss can result in sensorineural hearing loss, a permanent condition in which certain sounds, pitches or tones cannot reach the brain.

Early Detection and Intervention of Hearing Loss

Research shows that from the time someone identifies their hearing loss to the moment they seek treatment is an average of seven years. This is a long time to go with communication issues and can progress symptoms of hearing loss to places in your health which take quite a lot of effort to reverse. The sooner you can detect a hearing loss the sooner. This is why we urge you to join the World Health Organization this March 3rd on World Hearing Day by scheduling a hearing exam! A global change can start with you! Contact us today.