Hearing Loss Overview

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Hearing Loss

Struggling to hear is a challenge many people deal with, whether you were born with it or just started to lose hearing overtime. Sometimes you might not even realize you may have hearing loss. The key is to stay aware and seek help when you start to see the warning signs.

 

Facts about hearing loss

Only “old” people have poor hearing? Not true! Hearing loss can be caused by medical, genetic, or simply unknown factors. Activities such as listening to execessively loud music can also have a major impact on a person’s hearing. Those who work in a consistently noisy environment such as construction, airline employees, manufacturing, teachers, musicians, ambulance drivers, and more, can have lasting and damaging impacts as well.

According to the World Health Organization, these are the key facts:

  • By 2050 nearly 2.5 billion people are projected to have some degree of hearing loss and at least 700 million will require hearing rehabilitation.
  • Over 1 billion young adults are at risk of permanent, avoidable hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices.
  • Over a 10-year period, this promised a return of nearly US $16 for every US dollar invested.

The Impacts of Unaddressed Hearing Loss

When unaddressed, hearing loss impacts many aspects of life at an individual level

Social Isolation, Loneliness, and Stigma

When you have a hard time hearing, your social activities start to decline. This can affect your cognitive and psychosocial health. Several studies found an effect modification of gender such that among women, hearing loss was more strongly associated with loneliness and social isolation than among men.

See article from PubMed.gov

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Communication and Speech

Communicating with your loved ones and co-workers when you have hearing loss can become challenging and even frustrating. Adults with hearing loss also have a much higher unemployment rate according to the World Health Organization. Among those who are employed, a higher percentage of people with hearing loss are in the lower grades of employment compared with the general workforce.

WHO estimates that unaddressed hearing loss poses an annual global cost of $980 billion. This includes health sector costs (excluding the cost of hearing devices), costs of educational support, loss of productivity, and societal costs. 57% of these costs are attributed to low- and middle-income countries.

 

See the fact sheet from the World Hearing Organization. 

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Talk to a Hearing Specialist

Find out more about your hearing loss, and whether you also have tinnitus, or ringing in the ear.