March 3rd is World Hearing Day! Launched by the World Health Organization (WHO), this international call to action focuses on hearing loss. Did you know that hearing loss is the third most common health issue people experience in the United States? Impacting over 48 million people, hearing loss is pervasive.
World Hearing Day is a great reminder to have your hearing tested which is a great way to learn more about your hearing health and needs.
Hearing Loss Facts
Hearing loss is a medical condition that reduces one’s capacity to hear and process speech as well as sound. Many people are at risk of developing hearing loss as highlighted by the following statistics:
- 15% of adults have hearing loss.
- The prevalence of hearing loss is twice as common as diabetes or cancer.
- 26 million people, ages 20-69, have hearing loss.
- 1 in 3 adults, ages 65-74, have hearing loss.
- 1 in 2 adults, age 75 and older, have disabling hearing loss.
- 22 million people are exposed to hazardous noise levels in the workplace.
- WHO estimates that 1 billion people globally (ages 12-35) are at high risk of developing noise induced hearing loss.
- Only 1 in 5 people who would benefit from a hearing aid actually uses one.
- It takes an average of 7 years for people to address their hearing loss symptoms.
These statistics show how common hearing loss is and how widely undertreated it tends to be. Delayed treatment can worsen impairment and the multifaceted effects hearing loss can have on everyday life, health, and wellness.
How do I know if I have hearing loss?
With nearly 1 in 5 people having some degree of hearing loss, you or someone you know may experience hearing challenges. Asking yourself the following questions can be a helpful way to know if you have hearing loss:
- Do I struggle to keep up with conversations, especially in places with background noise (restaurants, parties)?
- Are sounds muffled or distorted?
- Do I frequently ask others to repeat what they said, speak louder, and/or slower?
- Am I lip reading to identify individual words?
- Is hearing tough on the phone?
- Do I often reply to others with “huh” or “what”?
- Do I move to quieter spaces to hear more clearly?
- Do I ever pretend to hear to get through a conversation?
- Am I turning up the volume on the TV, phone, or other electronic devices?
- Do I ever hear a ringing or buzzing sound in my ears?
- Are conversations unpleasant or draining for me?
- Am I avoiding conversations or keeping them as short as possible?
- Am I spending less time with loved ones or skipping out on social events?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, this may indicate that you are experiencing hearing challenges and your hearing should be assessed.
How is hearing loss treated?
The first step of treatment is having your hearing comprehensively evaluated. Conducted by a hearing healthcare specialist, hearing tests involve a painless process that measures hearing capacities in both ears. This identifies hearing loss and the degree of impairment you could be experiencing. Once your hearing needs are identified, treatment can be tailored to meet those needs. Hearing aids are the most common way hearing loss is treated. These electronic devices are designed to absorb, amplogy, adn process speech as well as sound. This provides the ears and brain with ample support which alleviates symptoms and maximizes hearing capacities in both ears. Hearing aids allow people to hear and communicate much more easily in everyday settings and activities.
This offers countless benefits like strengthening communication, improving relationships, and enriching social life. Treatment also improves health in significant ways including reducing health risks. Extensive research shows that untreated hearing loss can contribute to cognitive decline, depressive symptoms, and falls. Treatment alleviates these risks by supporting cognitive functions and strengthening brain health, increasing spatial awareness and safety, and enhancing mental health and wellness by improving relationships and social life. These benefits profoundly enhance quality of life and everyday well being.
Celebrate World Hearing Day by Scheduling a Hearing Test
This March is a great time to prioritize your hearing health. You can do this by scheduling an appointment for a hearing test. Treating hearing loss can help you live an active life that you can fully participate in and navigate with ease. Contact us to schedule an appointment for a hearing test.