Latest posts by Jeff Baller, Au.D., CCC-A (see all)
- How Treating Hearing Loss Improves Your Relationships - February 13, 2020
- A Healthy Diet Can Lower the Risk of Hearing Loss - February 7, 2020
- The Benefits of Being Social for Older Americans - February 5, 2020
Check Your Hearing on March 3rd for the World Health Organization’s World Hearing day. With Check Your Hearing as the main theme for this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) aims to draw attention to the importance of early identification of hearing loss. By identifying hearing loss early, you will be able to seek treatment sooner, potentially mitigating further damage to your hearing ability. Don’t let your hearing issues go untreated as doing so could lead to other health factors. Be proactive and Check Your Hearing on March 3rd!
Hearing Loss Trends Across the World
The World Health Organization 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. The overall number of those with hearing loss is projected to grow even more over the coming years as the elderly population will continue to grow. WHO projects that by 2030, 630 million people will live with disabling hearing loss, and by 2050 that number will rise to 900 million if no action is taken. That is why WHO’s World Hearing Day is so critical in raising awareness about the importance of hearing health across the globe.
Causes of Hearing Loss
According to WHO, there are two main types of causes of hearing loss. The first being congenital causes, being present at or acquired soon after birth. These may be hereditary or non-hereditary or may also be due to certain complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Acquired causes are the other type of cause of hearing loss which is more prominent. Acquired causes range anything from infectious diseases to chronic ear infections to use of certain medicines. A blow to the ear or head could also lead to hearing loss, but perhaps the most common cause for hearing loss is noise-induced. Exposure to excessive noise or loud sounds in both occupational and recreational settings may lead to hearing loss. According to hearing health professionals and organizations, the safe noise level is capped at 85 decibels, which is equivalent to busy city traffic.
Preventative Measures to Hearing Loss
The good news with hearing loss is that is preventable. WHO suggests that half of all cases of hearing loss can be prevented through public health measures. In regards youth infants and youth, immunization against childhood diseases, strengthening maternal and child health programs, screening children for otitis media, and referring children for early assessment of hearing are policy measure that could be profound in mitigating hearing loss.
As for adults, reducing exposure (both occupational and recreational) to loud sounds, usage of ear protection such as earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones, following healthy ear care practices –not putting anything foreign into your ear canal, getting prompt treatment for ear infections, and being cognizant of medications that may impact hearing loss are measures that can be taken to avoid hearing loss.
Equally important to the aforementioned preventative measures is the act of raising awareness and spreading knowledge on healthy hearing practices. World Hearing Day aims to do this by promoting public health actions, raising awareness on hearing loss and care, and encouraging behavior change towards ear and hearing care practices.
Early Detection and Intervention
Early detection and intervention of hearing loss are critical in providing a healthy hearing future. Among children, early identification and management can improve a child’s linguistic, developmental, and educational outcomes. Early identification among adults minimizes other health problems such as social isolation, potential physical falls, depression, and even dementia. It also allows for early treatment such as speech therapy, aural rehabilitation, and application of a hearing device to improve not only improved hearing health but also social, economic, and mental well-being.
On an external level, more widespread knowledge of hearing loss detection and intervention allows for more organizations to help people with hearing loss, hearing loss support groups to form, and potential legislation that can help ensure better inclusion for those hard of hearing.
Check Your Hearing with Professional Hearing Services Today!
On March 3rd, take the first step in improving your hearing health by getting a hearing test! Reach out to one of our professional hearing health professionals at Professional Hearing Services for all your hearing health needs!