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Each year March 3rd is celebrated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as World Hearing Day! This day is used to raise awareness about hearing loss and deafness worldwide. In the US 48 million people are projected to suffer from hearing loss, making it the third most common chronic condition. Meanwhile WHO expects the world number of people affected by hearing loss to nearly double in the next 30 years, making raising awareness on World Hearing Day more important than ever. This year’s theme is “ Hearing Care For All! Screen, Rehabilitate, Communicate” which focuses on targeting hearing care on a policy and individual level.
Hearing Care For All!
Nearly 15% of the world’s population deals with some degree of hearing loss making it a very common condition. Not only is hearing impairments an ear issue but have far-reaching effects as a communication barrier, first affecting relationships at home and at work. As relationships at home become strained after years of miscommunication due to untreated hearing loss people tend to become depressed and isolated. At work, unaddressed communication issues can affect a person’s income at work, impacting chances for raises and advancements. Hearing loss can negatively impact household income on-average up to $12,000 per year depending on the degree.
Not only do communication issues affect relationships but personal safety as well. In addition to hearing speech, healthy hearing allows us to be more aware of our environment, by using sound as clues in a map of the space you occupy. Untreated hearing loss has been found to increase the risk of accidents, falls, hospitalizations and even death as hearing loss increases incrementally. For the most affected demographic of hearing loss, seniors, a fall can quickly become life-threatening. It is important to make sure that hearing care is available to all people despite economic or social barriers, because hearing health is a quality of life issue.
While 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 and half of those 75 deals with some degree of hearing loss, the number of people of all ages continues to rise. This is in part, due to the increasingly loud world we live in. The most common source of noise-induced hearing damage occurs in the workplace, affecting 22 million employees in the US alone. With proper hearing protection and education, many of these irreversible injuries can be avoided. Even so, many of the most common causes of damage to hearing occur during recreational or home activities.
Our ears rely on tiny hair cells in the inner ear which convert soundwaves into electrical pulses to be sent to our brain for interpretation. When noise reaches over 85 decibels these tiny hair cells can be damaged and as the decibels and length of exposure rise, they can even be permanently destroyed. One of the most commonly used devices which puts a younger generation at risk for permanent hearing loss are personal listening devices. With an endless potential for audio and video streaming many expose themselves for hours on end, slowly creating permanent hearing loss. The important thing to remember the earlier you can detect a hearing loss the sooner you can treat it.
Hearing aids pick up the specific sounds tones and pitches which you struggle with making them audible to you again. They have been found to not only give you the tools to rebuild strained relationships between family and friends but to increase earning potential at work by 50%. People who use hearing aids consistently have been found to suffer less depression and social isolation, while increasing self-esteem and sense of independence. When you take the leap to invest in your hearing health you are not only helping yourself and improving your quality of life but erasing the stigma of hearing aids as a negative thing, rewriting a narrative of self-empowerment with hearing aids.
Hearing aids once held the stigma of old age, but now more and more people are realizing that hearing aids have the potential to heal relationships and help you to participate and enjoy the life you know and love.
If you or someone you know may have untreated hearing loss, why not use March 3rd as a reason to schedule a hearing test? We’re here to support you on your journey to better hearing. Contact us today!