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Scientists think that 20-somethings with hearing aids will soon become more common as hearing loss is a public health issue.

When you consider severe hearing loss, ideas of elderly people might come to mind. But all age groups have had a recent rise in hearing loss over the last few years. Increased hearing loss in all ages further demonstrates that hearing loss isn’t an “aging issue,” but a growing crisis.

Among adults 20 and older, researchers predict that hearing loss will rise by 40%. This is seen as a public health problem by the healthcare community. According to John Hopkins medical researchers, one in five individuals is already dealing with hearing loss so severe it makes communication difficult.

Hearing loss is rising among all age groups and here is why researchers think that is.

Hearing Loss Can Trigger Additional Health Concerns

It’s a terrible thing to have to endure severe hearing loss. Communication is frustrating, fatiguing, and challenging every day. It can cause people to stop doing what they love and disengage from friends and family. If you don’t seek help, it’s virtually impossible to be active while suffering from severe hearing loss.

People who have neglected hearing loss suffer from more than diminished hearing. They’re far more likely to experience:

  • Other severe health problems
  • Cognitive decline
  • Injuries from repeated falls
  • Dementia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

They’re also more likely to have problems with their personal friendships and might have challenges getting basic needs met.

Individuals who suffer from hearing loss are affected in their personal lives and may also have increased:

  • Disability rates
  • Healthcare expenses
  • Insurance costs
  • Accident rates
  • Needs for public support

We need to combat hearing loss as a society because as these factors reveal, hearing loss is a real obstacle.

What’s Causing Increased Hearing Loss Across Multiple Age Groups?

There are a number of factors contributing to the present increase in hearing loss. One factor is the increased occurrence of common diseases that can lead to hearing loss, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Anxiety and unmanaged stress
  • Poor diet and a lack of regular exercise
  • Obesity

More people are dealing with these and related conditions at younger ages, which contributes to further hearing loss.

Lifestyle also plays a major role in the increased occurrence of hearing loss. In work and recreational areas in particular, it’s becoming more common to be exposed to loud sound. We’re being exposed to loud sounds and music in more places and modern technology is getting louder. Young people who regularly go to the following places have the highest level of hearing loss:

  • Gyms
  • Bars, clubs, and concerts
  • Shooting ranges
  • Factories

Also, many individuals are turning the volume of their music up to harmful volumes and are using earbuds. And a larger number of individuals are now using painkillers, either to address chronic pain or recreationally. Long-term, regular use of opiates, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin have also been connected with an increased risk of hearing loss.

How is Society Reacting to Hearing Loss as a Health Issue?

Local, national, and world organizations have recognized the issue. They’re doing work to end this upward trend by educating the public on hearing loss such as:

  • Prevention
  • Treatment possibilities
  • Risk factors
  • Research

These organizations also encourage individuals to:

  • Identify their degree of hearing loss risk
  • Get their hearing examined earlier in their lives
  • Use their hearing aids

Any delays in these actions make the impact of hearing loss much worse.

Scientists, healthcare providers, and government organizations are looking for solutions. Hearing aid related costs are also being tackled. Advanced hearing technology will be increased and lives will be significantly enhanced.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with scientists and organizations to formulate in depth strategies. Lowering the danger of hearing loss in underserved communities is being addressed with health services, education, and awareness.

Local leaders are being educated on the health affect of noise by being given researched-based guidelines for communities. They work with communities to decrease resident’s noise exposure and teach what safe levels of noise are. Additionally, they’re furthering research on how opiate use and abuse can increase the chance of hearing loss.

Can You do Anything?

Hearing loss is a public health problem so stay informed. Share beneficial information with other people and take action to slow the advancement of your own hearing loss.

Get your own hearing checked if you believe you are experiencing hearing loss. If you discover you need hearing aids, be sure to wear them.

The main goal is to avoid all hearing loss. When you wear your hearing aids, you help people see they’re not alone. You’re helping your community become more aware of the difficulties of hearing loss. This awareness has the power to change attitudes, actions, and policies.

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