The fast lifestyle and industrialization of today’s world has made it so our exposure to noise is greater than ever before. It is quite evident that an excess of anything is bad, including an excess to noise, which has contributed to the global problem of growing hearing loss cases. Today, hearing loss is mounting at an exponential rate across the world and has become a costly public health issue.
Causes of Hearing Loss
There can be several factors that can cause hearing loss in one or both ears. Some of the major causes are:
- Extreme exposure to noise
- Chronic ear infections
- Trauma to the ear
- Use of certain toxins or medications
Are Hearing Loss Cases Mounting Up?
YES! Here are some key facts that indicate towards the growing problem of hearing loss all across the world:
- According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) report of 2000, there were over 250 million people worldwide affected with a hearing loss problem.
- In a collection of studies conducted in 2013, about 1.1 billion people worldwide have hearing loss to some degree and among them, 5% have a severe disability.
- Recent reports by WHO suggest there are over 466 million people worldwide with hearing loss.
- In third world countries, 6 out of 1,000 children are born with hearing loss and in developed countries, that number is 3 out of 1,000. It is expected for this ratio to continue to increase.
- In a WHO press release from 2015, a serious threat in the form of recreational noise was highlighted — it was reported that over 1 billion teenagers and young adults will be affected by their excessive listening to loud music and use of personal acoustic devices.
- A 2017 report from WHO estimated costs of unaddressed hearing loss for the health sector are about $750-$790 billion.
It is estimated that by 2050 over 900 million people will be affected by disabling hearing loss. These alarming statistics show that if necessary steps are not taken in time, hearing disabilities will spiral out of control.
Don’t Let the Attached Stigma to Hearing Loss Affect You
According to the editor of Hearing Internationals, Robert Traynor, one of the major factors that influence a patient’s decision to treat his or her hearing impairment is none other than the stigma surrounding it. A 2010 study published by Margaret I. Wallhagen, Ph.D., was helpful in identifying the association of ‘self-altered perceptions’ with stigma and how the perceptions of being smart versus impaired and ‘abled’ versus disabled were responsible for the delay in seeking professional help and treatment.
On average, people wait for more than 10 years to seek professional help for their hearing problems. Their mistake of not seeking help early can lead to permanent damage — damage that could have been avoided with the help of an early diagnosis.
How to Break the Stigma of Hearing Loss:
- Overcome your fear and get your hearing tested.
- Treat your hearing loss without feeling ashamed.
- If hearing aids are helping, start considering them as part of your body and wear them proudly.
- Speak up and do not feel shy to tell others about your hearing loss.
- Be a role model for others.
If you’re confident in who you are, soon you’ll see positivity around you. Just keep in mind that other’s opinions shouldn’t affect your decision to seek help or use hearing aids. It is your decision to make and yours only!
Aaron Wesel is the CEO of Century Hearing Aids and mastered the art of producing low cost hearing aids to better assist people. For the past seven years Century Hearing Aids has been providing the same hearing aids that cost thousands at the audiologist to online customers for a fraction of the cost, possible to the extremely low overhead. Wesel helps people find hearing aids that work just right for them, and knows many of his customers on a first name basis. That said, when it comes to dealing with some people in his daily life, he just removes his hearing aids.