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March 3rd is World Hearing Day! The World Health Organization (WHO) organizes this international campaign to encourage hearing loss treatment. Did you know that hearing loss is the third most common health issue that people experience in the United States? It is estimated that 1 in 5 people have some degree of impaired hearing, impacting over 48 million people. Though it is common, hearing loss is still widely undertreated.
World Hearing Day is a reminder to prioritize hearing health. This year’s theme is Ear and Hearing Care for All which highlights the importance of accessing the range of services, resources, adn solutions that are available to support your hearing health and wellness. You can participate in World Hearing Day with one simple step: scheduling an appointment for a hearing test.
Scope of Untreated Hearing Loss
It takes an average of 7 years for people to address their hearing loss symptoms. Studies show that there tends to be widespread inaction when it comes to hearing loss. A recent study that explored this was conducted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing-Association (ASHA). Researchers surveyed over 2,000 adults and found that:
- More than 51% of all adults reported having hearing problems, but only 11% have sought treatment.
- More than 78% of those with hearing problems have experienced them for 1 or more years. Over 35% have had trouble for 5 or more years.
- 2 in 10 adults have had a hearing test in the past 5 years, compared with 6 in 10 who have had their vision tested.
These findings show that even when hearing loss symptoms are experienced for a number of years, more people will avoid addressing them. This highlights a general deprioritizing of hearing health. Untreated hearing loss can strain communication, impact relationships, take a toll on social connection, and increase health risks.
Impact of Untreated Hearing loss
Untreated hearing loss does more than impact hearing. It also not only impacts you but those around you. Symptoms that remain untreated can:
- Strain communication: hearing loss symptoms make it hard to hear and participate in conversations. You may experience miscommunication, unpleasant interactions, fatigue etc. This often causes people to avoid conversations as much as possible by keeping them short or withdrawing socially.
- Impact relationships: communication is foundational for relationships. People often report feeling unheard or ignored by their loved one with hearing loss. This can produce tension, distance, and frustration in relationships.
- Increase health risks: substantial research shows that untreated hearing loss increases health risks including: cognitive decline, depressive symptoms, and falls. This can affect mobility, wellness, healthcare costs etc.
These effects can significantly impact how you feel and your ability to navigate everyday life comfortably.
Benefits of Treatment
Fortunately, there are effective ways that hearing loss is treated. The most common treatment is hearing aids. These are electronic devices that help absorb and process sound. This provides the ears and brain with ample support which alleviates symptoms and increases one’s capacity to hear. Hearing aids offer major life-changing benefits that not only transform hearing but your overall health and quality of life. Treatment strengthens communication, a key way we navigate everyday settings, activities, and interactions. This improves relationships with loved ones, coworkers, even neighbors! Increased capacity to hear also supports people fully participating in social life. People are better able to hear and engage with others which enriches social connection.
Treating hearing loss also improves health in significant ways. Studies have shown that hearing aids strengthen cognitive functions by supporting the brain process of auditory information. This reduces the risk of cognitive decline and developing associated conditions like Alzheimer’s. Treatment also alleviates depressive symptoms by supporting people to participate in social activities and strengthening relationships, supporting happiness and well-being. Hearing aids also increase spatial awareness and safety which decreases the risk of falls and accidental injuries. These benefits support people living active and full lives.
Celebrate World Hearing Day: Schedule Hearing Test
World Hearing Day is a good reminder to schedule a hearing test. The hearing evaluation process is painless and noninvasive. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation. Treating hearing loss can help you live the life you want!