As many of you may or may not know, this past Wednesday (March 3rd) was World Hearing Day – organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), to help raise awareness of ear conditions and hearing loss, as well as to promote healthy hearing and hearing care across the globe.
Each year, they establish a theme and overall message they believe is most important for that year.
This year’s theme is “Hearing Care for All,” which I believe is very pertinent given the worldwide issue of promoting proper hearing care.
Why Do People Wait So Long to Address Their Hearing Loss?
The World Health Organization understands that “good hearing and communication are important at all stages of life” and that “hearing loss (and related ear diseases) can be addressed when it is identified in a timely manner.”
Now, this is where we get into the importance and urgency of promoting hearing care.
Often, it will take the average person 7-10 years to book themselves in for a hearing assessment. One of the main reasons this occurs is the stigma surrounding hearing loss and hearing aids.
Because of outdated attitudes in our society, many people believe that admitting to hearing loss may be a sign of aging or don’t want to be seen as having a disability, but this is simply not true.
Hearing loss can affect all people of all ages, with some groups being at higher risk. There are also many misconceptions about hearing aids, such as they make you look old or they’re bulky and unsightly.
Again, these preconceived notions about hearing aids are no longer true.
The majority of today’s hearing aids are small and discrete, some even going inside the ear, appearing virtually invisible to others.
Why Is It Crucial to Treat Hearing Loss?
Now you may be wondering, what’s the big deal? Can my life really be so greatly impacted by untreated hearing loss? The short answer is yes.
Many people are unaware of the adverse effects on cognitive functions and the increased risk of diseases such as dementia when allowing their hearing loss to go untreated.
But beyond the more serious potential side effects of leaving hearing loss untreated, it is also important to remember that hearing loss can have eventually begun to negatively affect relationships, performance in working environments – which results in social isolation and can progress to mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Where is The Best Place to Start?
As an audiologist, my biggest concern is that we regularly have our eyes tested, our teeth checked, and regularly test our cholesterol – so why do so many of us avoid an annual hearing assessment?
Even if you don’t believe you are experiencing issues, a hearing assessment will help create a baseline for all future tests to ensure nothing has changed in your hearing.
The future stats of hearing loss are shocking, with an estimated 2.5 billion people having some degree of hearing loss by 2050.
I strive to provide the best possible care and treatment for all of my patients, working with them closely to ensure that they have the most tailored experience possible.
If you would like additional information on helping a loved one with hearing loss, please click here. If you would like to reach out to our office to set up a hearing consultation, you can click here.