But it’s not only those reaching more advanced years that are struggling with their hearing. Those in their 20s and 30s and even children are now increasingly likely to be affected.
According to a recent high-level study in the United States, the number of adults with hearing loss (from the age of 20) is expected to nearly double in the coming decades. This will fuel the demand for hearing tests and hearing aids.
There are a number of reasons why this is the case, but the most common of these is the prolonged and unsafe exposure to loud music – through headphones, live music events and even in the car. These are all activities which are just as commonplace in SA as they are in America, which would suggest that increased hearing loss is likely to become as prevalent here – across a widening age range.
Is it preventable?
In most cases, yes. If you wear headphones or have music playing in the car, the best advice is to listen at no more than 60% of full volume. Obviously, if you are at a concert it’s impossible to ask for the sound to be turned down but, if possible, step outside or away from the noisiest areas for periods of time. This will give your ears a rest. Also, try to position yourself as far away from the speakers as you can.
Are you affected by hearing loss?
If you suspect that your hearing isn’t as good as it should be – regardless of your age – then it’s advisable to have it checked out by a professional. This is especially important with children, as any symptoms are best caught early to prevent any long term damage.
What remedies are there for hearing loss?
Firstly, it’s important to have your ears tested regularly. Like eyes, our ears are delicate instruments, so having a regular check-up to ensure nothing is going amiss, should be given equal priority.
If it was found that there was significant hearing loss, then we would recommend using hearing aids.
As well as hearing tests, however, there is plenty we can do ourselves to look after our ears. If you work in a noisy environment, for instance, make sure you wear some sort of ear protection. And if you are a music lover, remember to keep the volume down or consider using earplugs for extra protection. You’ll be doing your ears a huge favour.
It’s easy to take our hearing for granted – especially when we are younger. But, as statistics are beginning to show, age is clearly no barrier to the possibility of hearing loss.