What is Hearing Loss?

Everyday sound exposure impacts the hearing health of people not only in India but globally. As per the statistics, it is figured out that nearly a billion young people at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening. Many people with hearing loss are unaware of it and as such, they miss out on educational, professional, and everyday-life opportunities.

Can this risk of hearing loss be averted? Yes, with proper awareness and safety norms for safe listening this can be addressed. The good news is that though millions of people in the world have hearing loss that can be treated or prevented.

What is Hearing Loss

Global Estimate

  • 466 million people are estimated to be living with hearing loss (6.1% of the world’s population).
  • More than 1 billion young people (12-35 yrs.) are at risk for hearing loss due to recreational exposure to loud sounds.
  • Estimates suggest that by 2050 over 900 million people. In other words, 1 in every 10 people – will have disabling hearing loss. 

What is hearing loss?

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), a person is with hearing loss when there is difficulty in normal hearing (i.e. hearing thresholds of 20 dB or better in both ears). Hearing loss disorder can be in different order of its severity i.e. mild, moderate, moderately severe, severe, or profound. It can affect one or both ears.

Who should be careful of hearing loss?

  • People are often exposed to high levels of sound, such as those who listen to loud music or work in noisy places.
  • People who use medicines that are harmful to hearing; and people aged above 60 years. 

What are the Symptom of Hearing Loss?

  • Ringing sensation in the ear, known as tinnitus
  • Frequently missing parts of a conversation
  • Tendency to increase the volume of television, radio, or audio devices

What are the Major Causes of Hearing Loss?

  • Congenital or early-onset childhood hearing loss
  • Complications at birth
  • Certain infectious diseases: Chronic middle ear infections etc.
  • Use of drugs: Ototoxic drugs that damage the inner ear
  • Noise-induced hearing loss
  • Age-related hearing loss

What are the impacts of hearing loss?

As the impacts of hearing loss are broad, they can be profound. Some of them include:

  • a loss of the ability to communicate with others
  • delayed language development in children
  • social isolation
  • loneliness and frustration
  • poor academic performance
  • opportunities in employment are compromised

Note: Children with hearing loss and deafness in developing countries rarely receive any schooling. The good news is that 60% of childhood hearing loss can be preventable.

As discussed earlier, WHO estimates that unaddressed hearing loss costs the global economy US$ 750 billion annually.  It majorly includes losses incurred due to health sector costs (excluding the cost of hearing devices), costs of educational support, loss of productivity, and societal costs.

How to avert hearing loss?

  • Early diagnosis of hearing loss, its type identification is the key to avert hearing loss.
  • Early diagnosis not only helps in addressing the issue but also helps in raising awareness to identify risky behaviors that need to change, to intervene in hearing loss.
  • Such interventions are identified by hearing care professionals and can range from captioning and sign language to hearing aids and cochlear implants. Interventions to identify, prevent and address hearing loss are cost-effective.
Check Pricing