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March 3rd is World Hearing Day! The World Health Organization (WHO) launched this global campaign to raise awareness about hearing loss, one of the most common health issues people experience today. The theme of this year’s World Hearing Day is Ear and Hearing Care for All. This highlights the importance of accessing the hearing healthcare resources, services, and solutions that are available to transform your hearing health and wellness. Treating hearing loss not only improves hearing but it profoundly improves your quality of life in significant ways.
World Hearing Day is a great reminder to prioritize your hearing health by accessing the hearing healthcare that can significantly improve your health.
Understanding the Risk of Hearing Loss
It is estimated that nearly 1 in 5 people have some degree of hearing loss. The prevalence of hearing loss is twice as common as diabetes or cancer. There are several factors that can cause hearing loss and understanding as well as assessing your risk (and how to best mitigate your risk) is helpful:
- Loud noise: a common cause of hearing loss is loud noise exposure and over 50 million people are exposed to loud noise on a regular basis. This includes:
- 22% of people are exposed to hazardous noise levels in the workplace.
- WHO estimates that over 1 billion people globally, ages 12-35, are at high risk of noise induced hearing loss due to loud noise exposure from electronic devices and social settings.
- Aging: the risk of developing age related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis, increases with age:
- 1 in 3 adults, ages 65-74, have hearing loss
- 1 in 2 adults, ages 75 and older, have disabling hearing loss.
Age related hearing loss can be caused by a few factors including the cumulative impact
of loud noise exposure, changes to the ears that may happen over time, and existing
medical conditions that impact older adults disproportionately adn are linked to hearing
- Existing Medical Conditions: extensive research shows that a number of medical conditions increase the risk of developing hearing loss. This includes cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and osteoporosis. If you have any of these conditions, it is important to prioritize care for them.
- Head injuries: over 3 million head injuries occur every year. Head injuries can damage the ossicles bones in the middle ear, rupture the eardrum, or damage the sensory cells in the inner ear. These are critical components of the auditory system, playing a major role in how soundwaves are absorbed and processed. This type of damage or injury can cause permanent hearing loss. Though people of all ages can experience a head injury, men between 15-35 experience the highest risk due to engagement in contact sports – a common cause of head injuries.
These risk factors can damage the sensory cells in the inner ear which disrupt how soundwaves are processed. This results in the brain receiving less auditory information, causing hearing loss.
Accessing Hearing Healthcare Services
A great way to protect your hearing health is to access and utilize hearing healthcare services. There are a range of services that can support your hearing health including:
- Hearing evaluations: the first step towards diagnosing hearing loss and treating symptoms is getting your hearing tested. Hearing evaluations involve a noninvasive and painless process that measures your hearing capacities in both ears. This identifies your hearing needs which informs the treatment options that can best meet those needs.
- Hearing protection: noise induced hearing loss is completely preventable and one of the best ways you can prevent it is by wearing hearing protection. Custom hearing protection provides maximum protection and is made for your specific ears.
- Tinnitus management: tinnitus is a buzzing or ringing noise in the ears that only you can hear. This is a common symptoms of hearing loss, though it can also be experienced without underlying hearing loss. There are effective ways tinnitus can be managed, including tinnitus retraining therapy.
These services are among many that comprehensively support hearing health and ear care. Even if you do not have hearing loss, you can benefit from investing in custom hearing protection and other hearing healthcare services.
Celebrate World Hearing Day by Scheduling a Hearing Test
This March is a great invitation to commit to your hearing health. To get started, contact us to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation!