Did you know that March 3rd is World Hearing Day? The global campaign is organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and focuses on raising awareness about hearing loss and hearing healthcare. This year’s theme is Ear and Hearing Care for All which highlights the importance of accessing the wide range of hearing healthcare services, resources, and solutions that are available to support your hearing health and wellness.
You can celebrate World Hearing Day by scheduling an appointment for a hearing test!
How undertreated is hearing loss?
It is estimated that only a third of people who could benefit from hearing loss treatment, actually receive it. Studies highlight widespread inaction when it comes to hearing loss, this includes a recent study published 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.
This data highlights how common hearing loss is as well as how common it is to ignore symptoms, even when the symptoms have been present for quite some time. These findings reveal a deprioritization of hearing health which can worsen hearing impairment and the multifaceted effect it can have on everyday life.
Why is hearing loss undertreated?
It takes an average of 7 years for people to address their hearing loss symptoms. There are a few reasons that help illuminate why there tends to be such a delay in treatment. This includes:
- Slow onset: hearing loss typically occurs gradually so symptoms can remain unnoticed for quite some time. Hearing will quickly adjust and people may not realize they are experiencing hearing loss symptoms.
- Misconceptions: there are numerous misconceptions about hearing loss which contribute to delayed treatment. This includes that only older adults experience it, it can be cured, is not that big of a deal etc. It is important to understand that hearing loss is a medical condition that impacts people of all ages. There are also no cures and the longer one waits, the worse hearing loss can become.
- Stigma: though hearing loss is incredibly common, there is still stigma associated with it. People may feel too embarrassed or experience challenges realizing they are going through health changes. This often contributes to not acknowledging hearing loss and delaying treatment.
Though it can be tough to confront changes to your health, it is important to know that delaying treatment can take a toll on everyday life. Untreated hearing loss can strain communication, relationships, social life, and health. Extensive research shows that untreated hearing loss can increase health risks including cognitive decline, falls, and depressive symptoms. This highlights the importance of intervening early and seeking treatment.
How do I seek treatment for symptoms?
The first step you can take to address your hearing loss symptoms is having your hearing health evaluated. Conducted by a hearing healthcare specialist, hearing tests involve a painless process that measures your hearing capacities in each ear. This identifies the type and degree of hearing loss you are experiencing. Once your hearing needs are established, your hearing healthcare provider is able to tailor treatment to meet those needs.
The most common treatment is hearing aids – electronic devices designed to absorb and process speech as well as sound. Hearing aids provide the ears and brain with ample support, making it easier to hear and communicate in everyday environments. Today’s hearing aids are wearable pieces of technology that are highly innovative, offering numerous technologies that deliver enhanced sound quality and connectivity possibilities. Hearing aids not only transform hearing but also communication, relations, social engagement, and overall health.
Schedule a Hearing Test for World Hearing Day
World Hearing Day is a great reminder to schedule a hearing test. There is an array of hearing healthcare resources and solutions available to support you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a hearing consultation.