Hearing Loss Affects People of All Ages
When you think about eyeglasses, what do you think of? Most likely your own pair or those of loved ones. If you’re more fashion-minded, you might even think about that funky pair you saw recently on one of your favorite celebrities. You definitely don’t think of old age.
But what about when you think of hearing aids? Probably a different story.
In the United States, 14 million people 12 years or older have a visual impairment. Thirty million people 12 years or older have hearing loss in both ears — that’s one out of every eight people.
Both eyeglasses and hearing aids correct a sense impairment — so why are eyeglasses a fashion statement, but it takes, on average, seven years for someone to even get their hearing tested after noticing a hearing loss?
The idea that hearing loss is something that happens to people in their old age simply isn’t true. Significant numbers of people across all generations experience some degree of hearing loss.
According to a World Health Organization report, 50 percent of millennials risk hearing loss because of damaging volumes via personal audio devices; 40 percent do so via noisy entertainment venues such as concerts.
Clearly, hearing loss is even more prevalent than vision problems. And it leaves no age group untouched. But the stigma remains, such that only 1 in 5 people who could benefit from hearing technology actually uses it.
But there’s a growing online trend of people discussing their lives with hearing loss — many of them millennials or slightly older — in an attempt to remove the stigma of hearing loss and hearing aids.
What’s more, the hearing technology of today is a far cry from the hearing aids of 50 years ago. The digital tech of today is sleek and discreet, minimizes background noise, improves speech clarity in complicated sound environments, and focuses on what’s in front of you rather than taking in and amplifying all sounds equally.
Plus, hearing devices are becoming as connected as everything else. You can stream audio wirelessly from your mobile device to your hearing aids, geotag the hearing aid settings for your favorite locations, even hear a phone call in both ears simultaneously — and control it all on the sly with a smartphone app!
Fang Ko et al. Prevalence of Nonrefractive Visual Impairment in U.S. Adults and Associated Risk Factors, 1999-2002 and 2005-2008. JAMA: 2012;308(22): 2361–2386. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Quick Statistics About Hearing. Accessed March 6, 2019. Hearing Loss Association of America. Hearing Loss Facts and Statistics. Accessed March 6, 2019. Hearing Health Foundation. Hearing Loss and Tinnitus Statistics. Accessed March 6, 2019.