Celebrate World Hearing Day – Ear and hearing care for all!

Matt DearingHearing Health

Many people never think a hearing loss could happen to them, even when they are struggling to hear in crowded restaurants or one on one. It’s often easier to blame confusion during social interactions on the way in which people mumble or a noisy and distracting racket in the background. However, admitting the reality of hearing loss is the first step towards a better life, with less confusion and stronger relationships. On March 3rd, World Hearing Day returns again, and is a great time to address a potential hearing issue before it can impact the relationships across your life as well as your mood, cognitive health, and mobility.

Hearing Loss by the Numbers

World Hearing Day is an international campaign led by the World Health Organization to raise awareness as well as promote regular screening and treatment around hearing loss. It’s a serious issue on a global level with an estimated 466 million people around the globe currently affected. Meanwhile WHO estimates that if public perceptions and institutional support don’t shift, these numbers have the potential to double by 2050! 

Not only does hearing loss devastate millions but the World Health Organization estimates that hearing loss and the associated health problems may cost an annual 750 billion international dollars, (half a trillion!) across the world! What can you do to prevent hearing loss? Eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep, staying active and avoiding vices such as processed sugar, alcohol, and tobacco will reduce your personal risk. The next step is to get the word out to more people!

Misconceptions around Hearing Loss

First and foremost, almost everyone thinks of hearing loss as a sign of old age. While it is the most common risk factor for hearing loss affecting one in three 65 and older and half of those past the age of 75, it can happen to anyone at any age, especially those who are exposed to loud noise. In fact, WHO recently released findings that an estimated 1.1 billion people between the age of 12-35 are at risk of serious hearing loss due to the use of recreational sound amplification. This means that testing your hearing regularly can detect a potential issue before it starts to become a serious problem. You may think you’d know you’d have hearing loss, but on average people go seven to ten years before addressing a hearing issue. This is because it often develops subtly over many years, while the brain rationalizes the loss in hearing.

Public Policy Solutions

Understanding the risks around hearing loss can give you and others the tools to address the issue before it becomes a more serious issue. Left unaddressed hearing loss can start to erode self-confidence, impact the quality of relationships, as well as increase the risk of cognitive decline leading to dementia and increase the risk of bodily harm due to unnecessary accidents. Due to the understood severity of hearing loss WHO urges policy makers on March 3rd and beyond, to transform the legislative and public health landscape to include preventative and treatment measures for hearing loss as well as make hearing healthcare more accessible for all. For years the severity has been downplayed at the convenience of insurance companies in the United States who still want to write off hearing healthcare as elective treatments, despite the overwhelming evidence of its impact on total health and quality of life.

Addressing a Hearing Loss

While most cases of hearing loss are considered permanent, it can be addressed using hearing aids. Today’s hearing aids are not the cumbersome devices of the past, flesh tone and prone to feedback. You’ll be amazed at how small, how user friendly and effective they can be for making it easier for you to hear everyday sounds and conversation. If you are looking to join the celebration and fight against world hearing loss on March 3rd, the most important and perhaps easiest thing you can do is to get a hearing test for yourself. Hearing exams are quick and painless and will give you an idea of the extent of your hearing loss. To find out more, contact us today to set up your next hearing exam. Remember, a change in the world happens one person at a time. Now it’s your turn!