Even if you're not worried about hearing loss now, you likely will in the future. That's because an alarming new report was just released in the Journal of the American Medical Association that predicts a sharp rise in the rate of hearing loss in the years and decades to come.
If current trends hold, nearly 45 million adults over the age of 20 in the United States will suffer from a significant degree of hearing loss by 2020. And as if that's not bad enough, that number is expected to rise to nearly 74 million by the year 2060.
The Rise in Hearing Problems
To arrive at their conclusion, researchers used census estimates for the coming decades, along with current hearing loss statistics. As you might expect, senior citizens will be the most adversely impacted by the rise in hearing loss. According to the research team's estimates, more than 67% of those with hearing impairment in 2060 will be at least 70 years old.
Even though the 70-plus crowd is disproportionately afflicted with hearing problems, younger people are far from immune. In fact, the rate of hearing loss for younger adults in their 20s and 30s has been steadily rising, primarily due to the prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss. If these individuals don't seek corrective treatment for their slight hearing loss when they're younger, then the condition will progressively get worse as they age, leading to more significant hearing difficulty.
Is There a Way to Stop It?
Unfortunately, hearing degradation is a natural side effect of getting older, as the sensitive components of your body's auditory system weaken. Still, there are steps that you can take to preserve your hearing. For starters, be aware of your environment and use hearing protection if you work at a noisy job site. Similarly, if you enjoy going out for drinks or clubbing, step outside at least once an hour and give your ears a break. Also, when listening to music on your headphones, try to keep the volume at around 60% of the device’s output and keep your listening time limited to around an hour a day.
If you've already noticed that your hearing isn't as sharp as it used to be, then make an appointment with an audiologist. He or she can administer a simple hearing exam and help to fit you with assistive devices, such as hearing aids, if necessary. Using these types of devices can help to preserve your natural hearing and halt the cognitive decline that can happen as a result of hearing loss. While there may be no way to stop hearing loss entirely, you can slow it down and limit its impact on your quality of life.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more about hearing loss and how to treat it, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!