In the World Health Organization’s recent post “Deafness and hearing loss,” it reports that today, 432 million adults and 34 million children have a disabling hearing loss, and this number is projected to double by 2050.
As an audiologist, this doesn’t shock me, but it does make me determined to help as many people as I can understand the value of protecting their hearing.
Reasons for Hearing Loss
The reasons for hearing loss can vary depending on your general health, age, and environment.
Typical hearing loss causes include:
- Genetic factors
- Too much earwax
- Inflammation from a recent illness or an ear infection
- A ruptured or perforated eardrum
- Medications that can damage hearing
- Cysts or growths in the ear canal
- Damaged middle ear bone structures – from a sudden fall or head injury
- Long-term exposure to loud noise – work, hunting, military career, earphone use
- Health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and blood vessel disorders
- Poor diet
Any one of these can affect hearing health.
Efforts to Increase Hearing Loss Awareness
The World Health Organization (WHO) launched its first-ever World Report on Hearing this year with the key message of prevention and treatment of hearing loss.
They want insurance companies to include hearing care in their basic coverage plans, and they want the public to be more aware of the many ways they can protect their hearing health. They even say that treating hearing loss would help the economy.
One preventative measure the WHO recommends is regular hearing assessments, especially for those who are at risk of hearing loss. They also recommend ongoing protection from loud sounds and good ear care.
Doing this can go a long way in preventing permanent hearing loss in 1 billion young adults – the number they say will suffer a hearing loss if they keep listening to music and media at too high a volume through headphones and earphones.
Thankfully, hearing assessments are mandatory for newborns in most states, ensuring that babies get the hearing help they need within the six-month window of time when future speech patterns are settled.
But comprehensive hearing assessments are not mandatory in general health checkups at any age. If they were, they could:
- Identify the reason for behavioral issues in children
- Indicate medical issues
The correct treatment could:
- Prevent nearly 60% of hearing loss in children
- Rehabilitate people with a hearing loss – reading, communicating, speaking
- Prevent depression
- Prevent cognitive decline
- Help people keep their jobs – because their communication skills improve
Prevent Future Hearing Loss
Without an accurate diagnosis and the correct treatment, studies have shown that the brain can be affected by the extra effort to translate the sounds it hears or by the decreased input to the brain.
I don’t want that to happen to you or any family member, and I want to make sure you can communicate easily with your loved ones for life.
If you’d like to maintain your hearing health and help prevent decline, book a hearing assessment with us today at the location nearest you – Algonquin, Elgin, St. Charles, or Huntley.
Even if your hearing is perfect right now, we’ll get a baseline report on where your hearing stands and use it for all future visits, helping us to provide the right treatment at the right time, should you start noticing any hearing loss.