In 2010 the World Health Organisation published a study that showed that 360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss, and one in five teenagers have hearing loss. These numbers have probably escalated, considering that the study took place six years ago. Hearing loss is a pervasive problem, but one that is not taken seriously enough…… Most people regard it as a normal part of ageing, or a problem that ‘effects’ other people. Often they will ignore their symptoms for years due to stigma or denial, or just not accepting the fact that there is an issue.
Hearing loss cannot and should not be ignored! When you actually live with someone with this condition, you realise that it not only affects the individual but everyone else around them. There are several health problems that are associated with hearing loss that suffers and their carers should be aware of. Let’s have a look at some of these.
Studies have shown that hearing loss is twice as common in people with diabetes. People with pre-diabetes’ rate of hearing loss is 30 percent higher than in those with normal blood glucose levels. Hearing loss is also related to a higher risk of falls. Yes, falling down. People with a light hearing loss are nearly three times more likely to have a history of falling and possibly injuring themselves quite badly.
Higher levels of hearing loss can likely cause dementia, a chronic disorder of mental processes. This is also linked to accelerated brain tissue loss. Again, there’s a high correlation between hearing loss and cardiovascular disease; a condition that involves blocked vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain or stroke. Lastly, hearing loss occurs in 90 percent of tinnitus cases; i.e. the hearing of sound when no external sound is present (often described as ringing, clicking, hiss or roaring).
Therefore it is imperative to learn about hearing loss as an individual, at school, and as a community, wouldn’t you agree? Getting all the facts about the condition and know how we can all become a part of the solution to this damaging condition. The use of hearing aids has increased over the years and has helped reduce a lot of other potential dangerous health problems caused by hearing loss. We need to work as one to remove the stigma around this condition and be part of the remedy.