Hearing loss isn’t something that just affects the elderly. In fact, the number of children in second grade with hearing loss increased by almost three times when compared to the last decade. Four times as many children have hearing loss by eighth grade. But despite the prevalence of hearing loss, many wait a long time before seeking help.
So if hearing loss isn’t simply a result of aging, what causes it?
There are many causes of hearing loss, but the one that has contributed the most to the increase of hearing damage in children and young adults in recent years is exposure to unsafe listening and noise levels. Termed noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), many young adults are at risk for permanent hearing loss due to personal listening device volumes and headphones that funnel sound directly to the eardrum. NIHL is a primary concern for today’s younger generations.
Unsafe noise exposure is also a contributing cause to hearing loss in baby boomers, Generation Xers and older adults. Some other causes that have, and still, contribute to hearing loss with these generations include exposure to damaging noise levels at work or during recreational activities, genetics, medical conditions and medications, and physical damage to the inner ear structures.
Learn more about the causes of hearing loss here.
If it’s so common, why do people wait go get help?
There are a number of reasons people wait years to seek hearing help, but a big part of waiting is due to the type of hearing loss a person experiences. For many, hearing loss comes on gradually. When this happens, our bodies adjust overtime, which can lead us to not recognize the hearing loss until it has become profound.
Another reason people wait is that they aren’t sure where to go. When you have an issue with your teeth, you see a dentist, and when you break a bone, you see an orthopedic specialist, but who can you see for your hearing? Many people are unsure or unaware of whom to see when it comes to their hearing. Some may call their primary physician or run searches on Google. When it comes to hearing, it’s important to see an authorized hearing professional or audiologist, or if the situation calls for it, a licensed ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT).
Find an authorized hearing professional or audiologist in your area by clicking here.