10 Reasons to Check Your Hearing During Better Hearing Month
by Kate Carr, HIA President
May 18, 2022
Most people probably don’t think about the importance of what their senses bring to their daily lives, including touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. These are the “big 5” senses first identified by Aristotle, and all are associated with the brain. When we touch someone or something, neurons in the skin pass the message along to the brain. Our ability to see is based on electric impulses passed to the brain by the optic nerve. Nerve endings send signals from the nose cavity to the brain to give us the sense of smell. And our perception of taste is again the connection between our taste buds and our brain. Like the other senses, sound passes through the ear in a complex process that results in electrical impulses traveling to the brain via sensory nerves. It’s all a wonderful and delicate system that we should not take for granted.
This May is Better Hearing Month and a good time to focus on your hearing health. Good hearing is essential. It connects us to the world, the ones we love, and the activities that we enjoy. This month, we want to remind everyone to make a hearing check-up a part of your routine health care and well-being.
- Hearing loss is a serious issue and does not discriminate by age. 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 55-73), 1 in 14 Generation Xers (35-54), 1.4 million children (18 or younger), and 2-3 out of 1,000 infants have some form of hearing loss.1
- Hearing loss can occur as a result of aging, noise exposure, medical treatment, injury or genetics.
- 50 million Americans suffer from tinnitus, that is a constant ringing, hissing or roaring sound in one or both ears and 90% of those with tinnitus have some degree of hearing loss.2
- Rates of noise-induced hearing loss are drastically rising. Younger individuals are among the faster growing population of those with hearing loss due to the use of personal audio devices and spending prolonged time in loud environments such as bars, clubs, and sporting events.3
- Hearing loss is linked to a greater risk of falls. Every additional 10-decibels of hearing loss increases the risk of falling within the next 12 months.4
- It was found that treating hearing loss decreased the risk of dementia in a recent study of nearly 4,000 individuals over 65.5 Another study also linked mild hearing loss to double the risk of dementia, moderate hearing loss tripled the risk, and those with severe hearing loss were five times more likely to develop dementia.6
- 1 in 10 people with untreated hearing loss suffer from depression. The percentage of depressed adults increased from 5 percent in those who had no hearing problems to more than 11 percent in those who did.7
- Untreated hearing loss is associated with 46% higher total health care costs over a 10-year period.8
- Although hearing effects overall physical and mental well-being, most people still wait 4 years to see a hearing professional after noticing their hearing loss.9
- Healthy hearing can greatly increase your independence, safety, and overall well-being, with 89% of owners reporting that hearing aids improved their quality of life.
Are you ready to schedule a hearing test? Don't hesitate to speak with a professional today. You may or may not have hearing difficulty, but it’s good to know how that wonderful sense of hearing is actually doing. You can find a nearby hearing professional at https://betterhearing.org/find-a-hearing-health-care-professional/
110 Surprising Facts About Hearing Loss. (2022). Hearing Health Center of Lake Charles, Inc. Retrieved from https://hearingmatters.biz/10-surprising-facts-about-hearing-loss/
2 Hearing Loss Facts and Statistics. (2022). Hearing Loss Association of America. Retrieved from https://www.hearingloss.org/wp-content/uploads/HLAA_HearingLoss_Facts_Statistics.pdf
3 Deafness and hearing loss. (2022). World Health Organization. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss
4 Lin, F. R., & Ferrucci, L. (2012). Hearing loss and falls among older adults in the United States. Archives of internal medicine, 172(4), 369–371. https://doi.org/10.1001/archinternmed.2011.728
5 Livingston, Gill. (2020). “ Dementia Prevention, Intervention, and Care: 2020 Report of the Lancet Commission.” The Lancet. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32738937/
6 “The Hidden Risks of Hearing Loss.” (2021) Johns Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/the-hidden-risks-of-hearing-loss
7 Li, C. M., Zhang, X., Hoffman, H. J., Cotch, M. F., Themann, C. L., & Wilson, M. R. (2014). Hearing impairment associated with depression in US adults, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2010. JAMA otolaryngology-- head & neck surgery, 140(4), 293–302. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaoto.2014.42
8 Reed, N. S., et. al. (2019). “Trends in Health Care Costs and Utilization Associated With Untreated Hearing Loss Over 10 Years.” JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2018.2875, PMCID: PMC6439810.
9 Powers TA, Carr K. MarkeTrak 2022: Navigating the changing landscape of hearing healthcare. Hearing Review. 2022;29(5):12-17.