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Posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hearing Health Trends

Man and woman listen to phone. Untreated hearing loss cuts off communication.

In the wake of new data showing that taking care of hearing is one of the most important things people can do to benefit their health as they age, there is a plethora of surveys revealing trends in healthy hearing. These surveys indicate that, though there is an increase in the amount of people with hearing loss, the use of hearing amplification remains stubbornly low.

People assume that hearing is relegated to the ears and is separate from the whole of a person's life. Hearing Health Misconception

Not only has the hearing loss population grown at 160% of the US population growth rate, but hearing loss among women is also on the rise and hearing loss due to occupational reasons has increased dramatically. Despite these statistics, only one in five people in need of hearing aids actually purchase them. the number one reason people give for not using hearing aids is, "My hearing loss is too mild to require amplification." This according to a pdf. posted by Better Hearing.com

Another common reason people cited for not treating hearing loss with hearing aids was cost. In actuality, not using a hearing aid can cost more than using a hearing aid. Hearing aids cost pennies a day when broken down, but the trend of living with untreated hearing loss costs the average person 12,000 a year in lost compensation. The collective monitory cost of untreated hearing loss is thought to exceed 100 billion dollars a year.

If people understood the full costs of hearing loss, there would be less of a trend toward leaving hearing loss untreated.

Hearing loss affects many different aspects of a person's life. It has been shown to increase irritability, work place accidents, reduce alertness, impair memory, reduce job performance and compensation, and to diminish overall health, both mental and physical. If people understood the full costs of hearing loss, there would be less of a trend toward leaving hearing loss untreated. Here are some facts about hearing loss that people should understand:

Noise Induced Hearing Loss is now the most common type of hearing loss.
• The prevalence of hearing loss among US adolescents has risen by about 30% since 1994.
• 12 percent of children between the ages of six and 19 suffer from noise-induced hearing loss — about 5.2 million kids.
• Hearing loss is the most self-reported work-related condition.
• 14% of the adult population has hearing loss.
• 30-40% of people over 65 have some type of hearing loss.
• Exposure to a noisy subway for 15 minutes daily can permanently damage hearing over time.
• Even a mild hearing loss can cause a child to miss as much as 50% of classroom discussion.
• People who do treat hearing loss wait an average of 7-8 years before seeking help.
• 15 million people in the United States with hearing loss continue the hearing health trend of avoiding seeking help.
• 1.3 million children under the age of three have hearing loss.
• Only 16% of physicians routinely screen for hearing loss.
• Hearing aids have been shown to improve quality of life for people with hearing loss.
• Today’s hearing aids are more advanced with features that diminish background noise and learn a wearer’s preferences.
• Hearing aids are more discreet and have even been shown to improve self-esteem.
• Hearing aids have been shown to reduce tinnitus.
• Untreated hearing loss has been linked with an increase in falls, dementia, and Alzheimer’s

Hearing loss that is left untreated has long term affects on mental and physical health, wealth and happiness, but many people continue to ignore their condition or diminish the importance of their hearing. Now that you know the facts, maybe it’s time to stop following the trend and make visiting your audiologist part of your health routine. Correcting hearing loss is essential for the whole of physical health as people age, grow, and learn.

If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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