Hearing loss is more common than people think. People of all ages may suffer from it, as it’s usually related to aging. Even you may be unaware that you’re gradually losing your sense of hearing, and eventually your ability to communicate.
- About 360 million people worldwide are suffering from hearing loss. (World Health Organization)
- 30-35% of people over 65 years old, and 40-50% of those over 75 years old have hearing loss at some degree. (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders)
- In the United States alone, about 25% of people aged between 55 and 64 have hearing loss. (MayoClinic.org)
This condition is greatly associated with older age, but there are other causes of hearing loss that people often ignore, such as excessive noise, especially from parties or huge equipment. Other causes include ear infections, diseases like meningitis and measles, medicines like antibiotics (e.g. erythromycin), too much earwax, or any other substance or foreign object which may cause damage to the ear canal.
Treatment and Prevention
Some cases of hearing loss are irreversible. Aside from consulting your doctor about it, there are things you can do to at least keep it from worsening:
- This may be unavoidable, so best use hearing enhancements and protection, especially for outdoor activities like hunting, or simply when operating loud machineries.
- Some are preventable by vaccination (immunization). Prevention is better than cure, as the old saying goes.
- Avoid drugs that are harmful to your hearing. When they’re needed, use them right and inform your doctor about the other medicines you may be taking.
- Earwax and infections. One word: hygiene. But don’t clean your ears too much that you damage your eardrums.
Safeguard your hearing by minimizing your exposure to very loud noises. Though people working in particular industries may have no choice, talk to your employer about hearing protections they should provide.