In 2007, the World Health Organization designated March 3 as World Hearing Health Day in order to raise awareness to the growing numbers of those suffering from hearing loss and the importance of hearing health care. In 2017, the NIH National Institute on Deafness & Other Communication Disorders stated that 48 million Americans suffer some type of hearing loss. The numbers grow annually.
Citrus Hearing Clinic LLC and The American Academy of Audiology are focused on educating the public on hearing loss, diagnosis, prevention and treatment. “Noise-induced hearing loss is a preventable and significant factor,” said Dr. Laura Pratesi, Audiologist and Owner of Citrus Hearing Clinic and a member of the American Academy of Audiology. “This growing health problem is often unrecognized in U.S. adults, adolescents and children and it leads to a long list of problems including depression, isolation, academic delays, impaired communication and cognitive decline. We are grateful that this awareness day was created to shine a light on the significance of hearing loss.”
As the baby boomer population ages, more Americans are forced to face hearing health challenges. According to the National Institutes of Health NIDCD, approximately 20 percent of American adults aged 20 to 69 have some trouble with hearing and approximately 28.8 million could benefit from the use of hearing aids.
While age is still the greatest factor in hearing loss, many younger people also experience hearing problems due to exposure to loud music and noises including occupational noise. Among adults aged 70 and older with hearing loss who could benefit from hearing aids, fewer than one in three (30 percent) has ever used them. With adults aged 20 to 69 only approximately 16 percent of those who would benefit from hearing aids has ever used them.
“Audiologists are the experts in hearing health,” Dr. Pratesi explained. “Anyone suspecting a hearing issue should see an audiologist who will run a series of tests to determine the problem, if there is one, and will then recommend treatment.”
Some signs of hearing loss may include:
- Suddenly having to turn up the volume of the television, radio, or stereo and having other family members complain that the volume is too loud.
- Difficulty understanding people speaking to you and asking people to repeat themselves.
- Difficulty with phone conversations and understanding the other person.
- Sudden inability to hear the doorbell, the dog barking, and other household sounds.
- People telling you that you speak too loudly.
- Ringing in the ears.
School-aged children with hearing loss will sometimes exhibit poor school performance because they can’t understand the teacher assignments or classroom interactions. If hearing loss has been present from a young age, they often don’t recognize the loss and can’t identify the problem.