Hearing loss is an increasing problem
Many older people are familiar with the problem: Unfortunately, hearing deteriorates with age. Hearing loss is widespread and will continue to affect more and more people in the future. American researchers found that by 2060, millions of people will completely lose their hearing.
The scientists at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore found in an investigation that by 2060, about 23 percent of American adults will lose their hearing. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery".
By 2060, 23 percent of Americans will have hearing loss
The current study found that by 2020, approximately 44 million American adults (15 percent of adults) will have hearing loss. This figure will increase to 73.5 million (23 percent of adults) by 2060.
People over the age of 70 will be most affected
The increase observed will be greatest among older adults. In 2020, 55 percent of all adults with hearing loss will be 70 or older, the experts say. In 2060 this rate will have increased to 67 percent.
Affordable interventions for hearing loss are urgently needed
In the coming decades, there will be an increased need for affordable interventions and services for hearing loss, says author Adele Goman of the John Hopkins Center on Aging and Health. The research team used the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to predict future rates of hearing loss. Hearing loss is generally a major public health problem that will affect many adults in the future. To solve this problem, novel and cost-effective approaches to the treatment of hearing by health care providers will be required, the authors say.
Professional hearing aids are still very expensive
The results of the current study show that there is unprecedented growth in this chronic health condition. In order to adequately treat the effects of hearing impairment on those affected, efforts are urgently needed to ensure public and private insurance coverage. Professional hearing aids are extremely expensive, the experts explain.
Hearing loss reduces the individual's quality of life
Aside from the high cost, hearing loss affects individual quality of life and overall communication skills. The work of those affected and social and family activities also suffer greatly from hearing loss, the doctors say.
We don't necessarily have to lose our hearing in old age
Hearing loss has also been linked to a decrease in mental ability. This effect shows the need to treat hearing problems within the population. And this importance will continue to increase in the future. When people get older, they don't necessarily have to lose hearing, the scientists explain. The most common cause of hearing loss is prolonged exposure to very loud sounds. These include, for example, loud music and loud noise at the workplace.
Protect your hearing adequately
In general, hearing must be well protected. For example, people should make sure that they limit the volume of sound from headphones. Workers urgently need to be adequately protected from industrial noise in the workplace.
Hearing loss occurs gradually
Hearing loss is a slow and insidious process. Changes can occur over the course of many years, usually these changes are no longer reversible later, the experts explain.
What are the effects of hearing loss in older adults?
Older adults who suffer from hearing loss have a higher incidence of depression, anxiety, a higher rate of hospitalization and also a higher rate of falls, the authors say. This is evidence of a possible association between hearing loss and mental decline.
In old age, people should have their hearing checked regularly
If you are 55 to 60 years old, it is best to have your hearing checked regularly. This may help you avoid complete hearing loss. People shouldn't take hearing loss for granted in old age, the authors say. There are ways to reduce the incidence of hearing loss and to prevent complete hearing loss through early treatment, the scientists explain. (as)