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Each year, the World Health Organization celebrates World Hearing Day on March 3 and designates a theme. This year’s theme is “Check Your Hearing”! Early identification and treatment of hearing difficulties is very important for your overall mental and physical health. At Pacific Northwest Audiology, we are committed to helping you get a better hearing experience. Call today and schedule an appointment – join us in observing World Hearing Day by checking your hearing!
Hearing Loss is a Widespread Issue
WHO estimates that there are 466 million people throughout the world that have disabling hearing issues. That’s a little more than 6% of the total world population! Of that number, 93% or 422 million are adults%. More men (242 million) than women (190 million) have hearing loss. Seven percent or 34 million are children. Age plays a factor, with one third of those affected over the age of 65. Unless world-wide perceptions of hearing loss and prevention are changed, according to WHO, the number of people with disabling hearing loss could be over 900 million by the year 2050. Globally, hearing loss is the fourth highest cause of disability.
Risk factors for hearing loss
There are numerous risk factors for hearing loss, including exposure to loud sounds, both in occupational and recreational settings, chronic ear infections, and some medication usage. Across the world, occupational noise exposure is the second most common injury in the workplace, second to physical injury. Noise exposure contributes to 22% of workplace health issues. Many countries, including the United States, have taken steps to decrease and monitor workplace noise. In the United States, workplace noise issues are addressed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Hearing Loss in Children and Teens
In 2015, WHO estimated that more than one billion young people are at risk of developing hearing loss due to their habits of listening to music at loud levels for long periods of time. Portable listening devices such as iPods, smart phones and MP3 players have contributed to poor listening habits. More than 50% of all people using portable listening devices listen at a sound level that is considered unsafe. And, it’s not just teenagers any more. Studies show that listening levels on personal devices are typically turned too high when adults are working out at the gym.
More than 700 million people each year develop ear infections and the majority of those are children. An alarming amount – more than 50% – are may develop hearing loss from chronic ear infections. Early diagnosis and treatment of ear infections will go a long way towards decreasing these statistics, studies show. Illnesses that are becoming increasingly resistant to the usual antibiotics are starting to be treated by so-called super drugs. These, as well as some of the agents used in chemotherapy, can cause hearing loss over time.
Global costs of hearing loss
WHO estimates that failing to address hearing loss amounts to an overall global cost each year of about $750 billion. This has a significant affect on the person with hearing loss as well as their friends and community. WHO recommends screening for early identification of hearing loss and then rehabilitation through hearing devices. Captioning, sign language education along with hearing devices are cost effective strategies to mitigate hearing loss and the consequences.
Check Your Hearing with Pacific Northwest Audiology
If you have noticed changes in your hearing, it is important to take a hearing test. If a hearing loss is detected, our team at Pacific Northwest Audiology will work with you to find the best solution to meet your hearing needs. The most common solution is the use of hearing aids. Hearing aids are tiny marvels that fit in your ear canal, allowing you to stream from your phone or the TV.
In honor of World Hearing Day, check your hearing with Pacific Northwest Audiology! Contact us to schedule a consultation and hearing evaluation. It is estimated that people are likely to wait three to five years before they address their hearing loss even after they’ve been diagnosed. Don’t wait! Our team will be there every step of the way to help you through the hearing test, technology, budget concerns and proper use. So, join the celebration this March 3 and call Pacific Northwest Audiology to check your hearing.