What is Hearing Loss
Hearing loss or hearing impairment is a state of partial or complete inability to perceive sounds. It is a condition that affects people of all ages, and it can be as a result of genetic factors, infections, exposure to noise, aging, or developmental congenital. Hearing loss is classified into three conditions, which include sensorineural hearing loss, conductive hearing loss, and mixed or combined hearing loss.
Hearing loss is not curable, but there exist treatment interventions that help to manage and restore hearing. Hearing aids and implants are the most common treatment options used for rehabilitation. However, scientists and researchers worldwide are still carrying out studies to establish the reasons behind the condition and the cure for this ailment. Some of the modern research is based on gene therapy and stem cells.
Prevalence of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is among the top three most common health conditions that affect human beings. According to the World Health Organization, about 5 percent of the world experiences some degree of hearing loss. The prevalence is expected to rise with estimates suggesting over 900 million people will be diagnosed with disabling hearing loss come 2050.
Disabling hearing loss is described as a hearing loss that is greater than 40dB in an excellent hearing ear in adults and greater than 30dB in the better hearing ear in children. Majority cases of hearing loss are reported on the developing and low-income countries.
Approximately 25 percent of the people above the age of 65 years are affected by disabling hearing loss. Reports from the Hearing Loss Association of America shows that 20 percent of all Americans report some degree of hearing loss in their lifetime. In the same report, it was noted that adult males between the age of 20 to 69 were twice more likely to have hearing loss than the adult females of the same age. Besides, 90 percent of the children with hearing loss were found to be born to parents with better hearing.
Signs and Symptoms Associated with Hearing Loss
The following are the common signs you are likely to experience if you have a hearing impairment:
- Hearing sounds or other speech as muffled.
- Difficulty in understanding speech, especially in low frequency or in a noisy background.
- Keeping away from some social settings
- Withdrawal from some conversations.
- Needing to increase TV or music volume for clear acuity of the sound.
- Trouble understanding consonants.
- Finding yourself requesting others to speak slowly, clearly, and loudly.
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Accidental Injuries
Hearing loss does not only put you to social disadvantage. It might also put you in harm, increasing the risks of you getting accidental injuries in different settings, including at your workplace.
The information was backed up by a research conducted in march 2018 in the US that recruited 5000 adults as the representative sample. It was reported that those who had little hearing loss were 60 percent more likely to experience accidental injuries, those with moderate hearing loss were 70 percent likely to have accidental injuries, and lastly, those with severe hearing loss were 90 percent likely to have accidental injuries compared to individuals with better hearing ability.
In another study, conducted by the American Geriatrics Society discovered that hearing loss was highly associated with poorer physical performance, especially in lower extremities among the older men and women. This is possible because the hearing and balance systems are connected, and in case of a hearing problem, there is a likelihood of losing balance in a way that can increase the risk of falling.
Treating Hearing Loss with Hearing Aids
There are several treatment interventions your audiologist may prescribe depending on the casual organ and severity of the condition. Hearing aids are among the common treatment options widely used. Hearing aids are electronic devices that are worn in the ear, and they help to amplify the sound and at the same time, making it clear for better understanding.
Benefits of Treating Hearing Loss
Long term untreated hearing loss can have profound mental, emotional, and social effects. Early treatment is recommended as it comes with many benefits. Sometimes addressing hearing loss can be long and challenging, but the results are worth the struggle. There are many benefits of treating hearing loss, and here are just a few:
- Boost performance at the workplace
- Slower cognitive decline
- Improves personal safety
- Enhances emotional well-being
It makes sense to say that if you cannot hear properly, you lose that crucial warning system that would alert you any incoming danger. Therefore, if you suspect your hearing is somehow compromised, don’t ignore it; contact a hearing health specialist for further assistance.