If you have trouble hearing, you are most definitely not alone. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 466 million people worldwide live with hearing loss. About 36 million of them are right here in the U.S. This is such a widespread and serious health condition that the WHO has declared March 3rd as World Hearing Day. Read on to learn why this may be of importance to you and your loved ones.
Why should you be concerned with hearing loss?
Hearing loss involves much more than an inability to hear conversations and other sounds that may be important to you.
It affects your overall health:
- Untreated hearing loss is a risk factor for serious and costly health conditions, including depression, dementia, injury-causing falls and heart attack or stroke.
- Over a decade, older adults who had untreated hearing loss incurred a total of $22,434 in extra healthcare costs versus individuals with no hearing loss, according to a Johns Hopkins study.
- The same study revealed that people with untreated hearing loss experienced approximately 50% more hospital stays and had a 44% higher risk for readmission within 30 days.
It creates problems in the workplace:
- People who have difficulty hearing are significantly more likely to experience an accident related to driving, work, leisure activities or sports, compared to individuals with excellent hearing, according to a CDC study.
- Hearing-impaired employees can’t communicate effectively with coworkers, and they may not hear alarms and other warning signals, potentially placing themselves and others in danger.
- Hearing loss is associated with lower earnings — by as much as $30,000 annually, according to a Better Hearing Institute study — and it can add stress to the body and mind.
What can you do to make a difference?
Avoiding hearing loss should be your first priority. Fortunately, certain hearing loss risk factors, especially exposure to excessive noise, can be minimized. Following are some of the steps you can take to reduce your risk of hearing loss:
Keep a safe distance from loud sounds (85 decibels or higher)
- Use hearing protection if loud sounds cannot be avoided
- Listen to music at a safe volume (no more than 60% of maximum volume)
- If possible, avoid medications that can damage hearing (check with your physician first)
- Prevent or control type 2 diabetes, a proven risk factor for hearing loss
- Quit smoking, which research has linked to hearing loss
Preventing exposure to excessive noise, one of the leading causes of hearing loss, is easier than ever with the availability of decibel meter apps for iOS and Android smartphones. Click here for more information and links to app downloads.
#2: Early intervention
If you have hearing loss, the longer it goes untreated, the more it interferes with your communication abilities and overall quality of life. As mentioned earlier, untreated hearing loss also increases the risk of depression, dementia and injury-causing falls. Be proactive with your hearing health:
- Ask your physician about a simple hearing screening when you go in for a routine physical exam or preventive visit. You probably already undergo regular dental and vision exams. Hearing loss affects approximately 15% of American adults and should be taken just as seriously.
- Make an appointmentwith a hearing health care provider if you suspect hearing loss. How do you know if you need help? One easy-to-use discovery tool is this online hearing quiz. While it doesn’t replace a professional diagnosis, it may give you clues that you need a complete hearing evaluation.
How should you address your hearing loss?
This is the easiest part! Don’t hesitate or ignore getting treatment.
Simply click here to request an appointment for a professional hearing screening with an Amplifon-credentialed hearing healthcare provider at a clinic near you. Our Patient Care Advocates will answer all your questions and guide you through the entire process.