Come celebrate World Hearing Day with millions of others around the world! Organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), this is a day devoted to educating people around the world about how to prevent deafness and hearing loss and to promote good ear and hearing health. This year, WHO wants to draw attention to the importance of acting early when confronted with hearing loss. It is estimated that about 50% of all hearing loss can be prevented, and many people are living with hearing loss that they don’t realize they have.
WHO recommends that everyone check their hearing regularly, in particular those who are at risk of hearing loss. Those at risk include adults over the age of 50, people who work in noisy places and people who watch TV or listen to music at high volumes for extended periods of time. To help people take charge of their hearing, the WHO are launching an app which will allow people to check their own hearing. Called the HearWHO app, it will also be used to raise awareness about how important our hearing is, encourage people to monitor their hearing regularly, and help people working in healthcare to monitor the hearing of individuals from their own communities.
The emphasis on identifying hearing loss early action could not come soon enough. As the world’s populations are becoming more urbanized, hearing loss is becoming more widespread. The numbers speak for themselves.
- 5% of the entire world’s population has hearing loss.
- If nothing is done, there could be 630 million people with hearing loss by 2030.
- Hearing loss is a particular concern for older adults, with one out of every three people over 65 affected by hearing loss.
- It’s estimated that 1.1 billion young people around the world are putting serious risks on their hearing though exposure to noise through smartphones, concerts and late-night entertainment venues.
Unfortunately, this is not only a problem for the developing countries of the world. In the
- About 15% of American adults (37.5 million) aged 18 and over are finding it difficult to hear in their everyday lives.
- Of those who are 70 years or older who need hearing treatment, only about 30% are getting the help they need. This figure is even smaller for those who are younger (16%).
Why you need regular hearing tests
It is important to have a preventative mindset when dealing with long term, gradual health problems such as hearing loss, diabetes or cancer. Benjamin Franklin said it best when he remarked “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” People usually have no qualms about getting an annual check-up of their blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The same zealous monitoring should be exercised for our hearing!
The reason for early action with hearing loss is simple. When we lose our hearing, we lose more than our hearing. We increase our risk of dementia and experience a decrease in our cognitive functions. We become more socially isolated and our ties to our loved ones falter. In being proactive in discovering and treating our hearing loss, we are taking steps to guarantee our long-term health and well-being.
Unfortunately, many choose to wait until the problem becomes debilitating before getting their hearing tested. Studies indicate that people wait on average 7 years before doing something about their hearing. Though quick, easy and non-invasive testing, we can check our hearing and ensure that we preserve it in the best way for our future years.
How to tell if you need to be tested urgently
Although WHO recommends regular testing, some people might need a hearing test more urgently. You may need a hearing test sooner rather than later if one or more of these statements apply to you:
- Others complain about the volume levels you need to watch TV or listen to music.
- You find it difficult to hear well in noisy places or when surrounded by people.
- You can hear people talk, but you can’t understand what they are saying.
- You have a ringing in your ears (also known as Tinnitus)
To schedule an appointment for a comprehensive hearing test, contact us at Active Hearing and Audiology today!