Hearing loss is the fastest growing and third most prevalent chronic health problem among Canadians today. Hearing loss affects 10 percent of all Canadians, of which 25 percent are over the age of 45, and 50 per cent are over the age of 65.
According to Statistics Canada, more than one million adults across the country reported having a hearing-related disability, a number more than 50% greater than the number of people reporting problems with their eyesight (StatsCan, 2002).
Hearing loss is an important health concern which is often unrecognized and undertreated. Hearing loss can have many emotional and social consequences including social isolation, depression, safety issues, mobility limitations and reduced income and employment opportunities. In older adults, hearing loss has also been shown to be associated with poor quality of life and functional limitations.
Research from the Hearing Foundation of Canada reports that out of three million Canadians who have hearing loss, only one in six wear hearing aids. This means that more than 80 percent of hearing impaired Canadians have trouble following a normal conversation because they do not use hearing aids. This in spite of the fact that numerous surveys have shown that hearing aids both improve hearing and quality of life.
What causes hearing loss?
In adults, the most common causes of hearing loss are:
- Noise: Noise-induced hearing loss can happen slowly over time. Being exposed to everyday noises, such as listening to very loud music or using a lawn mower, can damage the structures of the inner ear, leading to hearing loss over many years. Sudden, loud noises, such as an explosion, can damage your hearing.
- Age: In age-related hearing loss, changes in the inner ear that happen as you get older cause a slow but steady hearing loss. The loss may be mild or severe, and it is always permanent.
Other causes of hearing loss include earwax buildup, an object in the ear, injury to the ear or head, an ear infection, a ruptured eardrum and other conditions that affect the middle or inner ear.
How WELL do you Hear?
- Does anyone complain that you turn the TV too loud?
- Do voices sound blurry – like people are mumbling?
- Do you have to ask people to repeat themselves, even in a quiet environment?
- Do you find yourself confusing words or making silly mistakes?
- Do you have difficulty hearing or understanding the TV or on the telephone?
- Do you have trouble understanding conversation within a group of people?
- Has a friend or family member commented that you may have a loss of hearing?
If you answered “Yes” to even one of these questions you may have hearing loss.
Learn more about Hearing Loss
Unitron’s Brian Taylor Au.D., sits down with host Morgan Fairchild to discuss the importance of hearing healthcare in a special segment on Baby Boomers in America, a new television series appearing on the Lifetime Network dedicated to exploring all aspects of the boomer lifestyle.