In light of: “May is Better Hearing & Speech Month”... I thought I would share some interesting hearing statistics. I encourage you to think about your own personal hearing abilities when reading.
In our country over 25% of adults have hearing loss. Aging may contribute to the hearing loss but it does not have to. Until about age 69 age is often the most common denominator. As you go about your life you are exposed to more and more sounds and experiences that can permanently damage your hearing. Wearing protection helps reduce damage.
Hearing loss can occur at any age. 1 out of 8 people above the age of 12 already have some hearing loss. Genetics definitely play a role in your hearing outcome as you age. Men will generally develop a loss in the high frequencies and women are more prone to hearing loss in the low frequencies. If both a husband and wife have a hearing loss... then the man can’t understand his wife due to the high frequencies (women’s voice range) and at the same time his wife struggles with the volume of her husbands voice. I always say this is God’s way of throwing a little humor into the marriage!
How old are you? In your 50’s? 2% of people by age 54 have significant hearing loss. Maybe in your 60’s?... the number of people with hearing loss climbs to 9%. It keeps getting higher... by the time you are 74 years old your chance of having a disabling hearing loss is 25%. Once you are over 75 then your probability of having this type of significant loss is over 50%. Your life style...your life experiences... noise exposure through either employment or leisure all contribute to the development of hearing loss. Remember to wear some ear protection when possible.
So you have some hearing loss...do you also have Tinnitus? That is a ringing, clicking, thumping, buzzing or some other type of sound that you hear in your head that just randomly appears. It may be constant or intermittent. About 18% of people have some form of tinnitus. A whopping 68% of these people have prolonged tinnitus. 30% of people with tinnitus report that is severely impacts their quality of life. Hearing instruments can help reduce stress that is associated with tinnitus.
So why do people wait so long to pursue better hearing. Many people will wait almost 15 years to get their first set of hearing instruments. Usually 7 years pass from the time they first think they may have a hearing problem before getting a hearing test and ... then another 7 -8 years before purchasing a hearing instrument. Can you imagine doing that with your eyes? Waiting this long makes it harder to get used to hearing again. You hear with your brain. The longer you go without stimulating your brain...the longer it takes for your brain to re-train to the new and improved sounds. Your brain forgets what sounds are normal.
If you have a vision problem, you get glasses. If you have a hearing problem then you get a hearing instrument. Approximately only 25% of people with hearing loss actually wear hearing instruments. This is unfortunate when you consider the relationship between hearing loss, falling, cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s. Hearing instruments start at $495 and have several levels of technology to suit your needs. Hearing instruments .... depending upon hearing shifts and technology levels can last up to 10 years. People with hearing loss that choose to ignore it are approximately 26% more likely to slip into cognitive decline. This is one of those informative statistics that you can do something about. Just wear a hearing instrument!
The sooner you do it... the better for your brain. Studies have shown that when a person is fit with hearing instruments they actually reverse some of the conditions and risks that are associated with untreated hearing loss. Be proactive. To Hear Better Is To Live Better!