Hearing loss is no longer a problem of the elderly. We are constantly being bombarded by so many sounds in our daily environments that hearing loss is now a problem of young adults and even children.
The problem with hearing loss is that it is gradual in nature, which is why it is often ignored until it is severe. Furthermore, due to the stigma attached to hearing loss, even those who suspect that they may have some sort of hearing damage tend to delay obtaining treatment for years. It often takes a person with hearing loss around a decade to actually seek help for their hearing problem!
Health risks associated with hearing loss are many. Hearing loss can result in psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, dementia, and social withdrawal. They can also result in physiological difficulties such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and stroke.
When we are young we often take our hearing for granted, which is why we do not engage in necessary auditory protection. Hearing tests are a useful way to assess our hearing abilities and can be included in our routine yearly check-ups. Hearing loss can often result from simple, rectifiable reasons such as accumulation of excessive earwax or some types of bacterial or viral infection. Hearing loss can also be a symptom for an underlying chronic illness. It is therefore important to visit a hearing care professional to rule out the simple reasons for hearing loss and visit a medical professional to address the more severe illnesses.
Protecting your hearing can go a long way in helping you lead a healthy and happy life. Always wear hearing protection when you attend loud events such as sporting events or musical concerts. Also wear earplugs or earmuffs when operating power tools. Listen to music at lower volumes (maximum 85db) for a smaller duration of time each day (maximum one hour daily).
Hearing loss is a permanent condition so it is our responsibility to keep our hearing functioning at an optimal level for as long as we can. Schedule regular hearing tests for yourself and loved ones whom you suspect may have hearing loss. Timely treatment can go a long way in helping restore the quality of life for those with hearing loss.
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