HEARING – Part 1

Dear World

Today is World Hearing Day and WHO – World Health Organization tells us that “Un-addressed Hearing Loss is a global public health challenge and incurs an estimated cost of over US $1 trillion annually”. (1) 

$1,000,000,000,000 annual cost of Hearing Loss that we as a world have not addressed.

Is this just a big fat number or are we ready to listen up (pun intended) because we could be a statistic now or in the near future if we are not taking note of the common sense stuff that could lead to Hearing Loss?

ADD to that – 1 in 10 people will have disabling Hearing Loss by 2050. (2)

We are then told by told by our World Health Organization that there is a global shortage of Ear and Hearing Care specialists. (1)

Would it be a wise move to ensure we do what it takes to ensure we are not going to be the 1 in 10 or are we just going to continue business as usual as we are having a great time with our ear phones, Ignoring the world and what is going on out there?

Are we going to make any adjustments or Changes to our Lifestyle or would we rather just wait as we are loving our loud sounds and shutting out the world as we go into our deaf zone?

That means “Go away world, I just want to listen to what I want and not engage in any form of human life, thank you very much”.

Next –

WHO produced a 272 page WORLD REPORT ON HEARING in 2021 (3)

This huge report tells us that 1.5 billion of us will experience some decline in our Hearing. Surely, we then need to pay attention as we are told that many causes of Hearing Loss can be prevented.

It also states that 1 billion young people put themselves at risk of permanent Hearing Loss by listening to music at loud intensity over long periods of time.

WHY are we not addressing this as basic 101 common sense human living?

WHY are we allowing our young people of today to go down the ill road, which will inevitably lead to Hearing Loss?

We are not talking about a few kids in the community – this is at epic proportions – ONE BILLION.

Are we waking up or are we getting cosy and comfortable with our new noise cancelling earphones that keep out anything and everything we simply do not want to hear?

Our Lifestyle Choices are slowly and surely killing us literally, yet we seem to have this inbuilt aversion to not addressing what we ought to so we don’t have to suffer the consequences of our ill choices.

How many of us have kids that seem to shut down their ability to hear and go deaf when it suits them, but come alive when something is of interest or benefit to them?

How many of us as adults go into our so-called cave and it could be Our Car where the music sound blasting is so loud it is deafening, but we don’t care as it helps us forget the day, the job, the worries, the home life and those that have hurt us or whatever else it is we do not want to feel or deal with.

Sounds familiar?

Estimating the Worldwide Burden of Health Loss due to Hearing Loss

2022
The current worldwide burden of Health Loss due to all forms of Hearing Impairment is estimated at –

43.4 MILLION YEARS LIVED WITH DISABILITY (YLDs)

28% of cumulative YLDs due to all physical impairments in Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx)

Hearing Loss-attributable YLDs
18.7% linearly increased during the past 10 years (4)

28% of years lived with disability = all physical impairments in Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx). GHDx is a worldwide database that holds stats, surveys etc.

Years lived with disability due to Hearing loss increased by 18.7% in past 10 years.

If years lived with disability is 28% overall due to physical impairments and there has been an 18.7% increase in years lived with disability caused by Hearing Loss alone – this is a large percentage in comparison.

GLOBAL

1 IN 5 PEOPLE WORLDWIDE LIVE WITH HEARING LOSS

The majority of people with Hearing Loss do not have access to interventions (5)

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

“Hearing Loss has often been referred to as an “invisible disability” not just because of the lack of visible symptoms but because it has been long stigmatized in communities and ignored by policy-makers”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus – World Health Organization Director-General (6)

80% of Ear and Hearing Care needs remain unmet, Globally 

$1 TRILLION – Annual Global cost of unaddressed Hearing Loss

Deeply ingrained societal misperceptions and stigmatizing mindsets are key factors that limit efforts for preventing and addressing Hearing Loss.

Changing mindsets related to Ear and Hearing Care is crucial to improving access and mitigating the cost of unaddressed Hearing Loss. (6)

2050
2.5 billion people are projected to have some degree of Hearing Loss.

1 in 10 (700 million) will have disabling Hearing Loss and require Hearing Rehabilitation.

1 Billion young adults are at risk of permanent, avoidable Hearing Loss due to unsafe listening practices.

$1.40 US per person needed to scale up Ear and Hearing Care services globally.

432 million adults and 34 million children of the World’s population require rehabilitation to address disabling Hearing Loss.

‘Disabling’ Hearing Loss refers to Hearing Loss greater than 35 decibels (dB) in the better Hearing ear.

80% of people with disabling Hearing Loss live in low and middle-income countries. (2)

Expanding access to Ear and Hearing Care services requires investment. (5)

Prevalence increases with age, among those older than 60 years –
25% are affected by disabling Hearing Loss. (2)  

WHO African Region

135 million people in the region live with Hearing Loss

337 million projected to have Hearing problems by 2050 (7)

WHO Region of the Americas

217 million people in the region live with Hearing Loss

322 million projected to have Hearing problems by 2050 (8)

WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region

78 million people in the region live with Hearing Loss

194 million projected to have Hearing problems by 2050 (9)

WHO European Region

196 million people in the region live with Hearing Loss

236 million projected to have Hearing problems by 2050 (10)

WHO South-East Asia Region

401 million people in the region live with Hearing Loss

666 million projected to have Hearing problems by 2050 (11)

WHO Western Pacific Region

546 million people in the region live with Hearing Loss

766 million projected to have Hearing problems by 2050 (12)

Firstly – a reminder that there are rarely any up to date statistics so we are a few years behind when we receive numbers.

2022 – we are being informed about the WORLDWIDE BURDEN of loss of health that has been caused by Hearing Loss.

Not just isolated to one or a few countries but right across the world.
THIS IS SERIOUS

We do not need a crystal ball to work out what is the trajectory 2 years later – 2024. It is beyond any doubt going to be higher.

For anyone that even has a thought enter that it may not be – continue to read this small PART 1 of our Hearing article which is designed with one purpose – to bring awareness. Nothing more and nothing less.

What on earth is YLD and who actually cares about a big fat number like 43.4 million years when we just want to listen to what we want with something designed to go in our ears and keep out what we don’t want to hear.

The World Health Organization tells us that One YLD represents the equivalent of one full year of healthy life lost due to disability or ill-health. (13)

43,400,000 years for most of us will just be a number with multiple zeros and if there were more zeros added, it would not make us react or even flinch as it means nothing. We simply cannot relate to how sticking things in our ears and having the sound loud as we want is linked a multi-million number related to the word DISABILITY.

Next –

Can we wake up because we have another health 911?

1 in 5 of us live with HEARING LOSS (5)

Still not getting it and still not bothered?
We ought to be and get our heads out of the bopping to the beat mode and check in with what road we may be heading down if we are not already displaying symptoms of Hearing Loss.

This INVISIBLE DISABILITY may have for a very long time been ignored and we can Blame whoever and whatever we want, but the basic Truth is we are RESPONSIBLE for what happens to us because it is going on inside our body.

WHY is Hearing Loss on the rise?
Simple if we apply a small dose of common sense…
Always ask Granny – What would Granny say here?

“Get Real, take those things out of your ears and stop ignoring the everyday good old fashion way of living.”

Granny is not interested in having the sound effects of a movie that is engaging and stimulating the body on a train journey. She says check what’s going on around you and open your mouth and talk. If you don’t feel to then just observe others and how you feel or drop your chin and close your Eyes. Simple.

Granny is saying “Have you Tidied up, done the Laundry or cleaned your shoes for work tomorrow?” and unless you have she will not give you the time of her day to talk nonsense about what you are choosing to listen to while you Ignore what needs to be done.

Granny is not pro ‘stick those things in your ears and do the cleaning or washing up’. ABSOLUTE NO. Focus on the task in hand and be present and that means attending to the job and not distracting with noise of any kind.

AND finally, on this Granny does not understand YLD but she knows we have to ask the WHY Question. WHY have we got such high numbers of people with Hearing Loss? Answer the Y and the LD will be known. Simple.

Next –
$1,000,000,000,000 every year for cost of un-addressed Hearing Loss. (1)

If we know “deeply ingrained societal mis-perceptions and stigmatizing” are key factors limiting prevention, then WHY are we not addressing this immediately?

What if we cannot change mindsets but we can bring about awareness and some proper Real good old fashion common sense and address Hearing Loss as we have worked something out – Hearing Loss was never ever this prevalent in the past. This means we simply cannot Ignore how people were living, what has changed and how have we got to this point where it has become so Serious.

2050
In 25 years, a huge proportion of our worldwide population are going to have some degree of Hearing Loss.

ADD to that what we have today –
1 BILLION(3) – a whole cohort known as ‘young adults’ that are at risk of permanent Hearing Loss BECAUSE of their listening behaviour. Yes you read correctly – their ‘unsafe’ listening practices have and will continue to affect their Hearing to the point where they will be deaf.

What is possible if there was education and presentations where articles like this are discussed at school and in particular the age groups that use any device to listen to sounds that are loud and intrusive to the Gentle and sensitive ear?

What would be relatable to our children of all ages, teenagers and adolescents is to listen to those that have harmed themselves with the loud sounds and are now using Hearing aids or are living with Hearing Loss. That way they can sense and feel for themselves the impact of what happens when we make choices that are harmfull to the human body.

Next –

WHY are we adults and elders in homes and in the community not stepping in where we can to ensure our children, that will soon be ‘young adults’, listen up to the wise words we can offer? It is an absolute crime to allow those that are not aware to continue on an ill road that leads to a crippling disability when we can simply and easily intervene and “Say It As It Is”. What they do thereafter is up to them and of course it has consequences. The important factor is we let them know and so if it falls on deaf ears (pun intended) it matters not. What needed to be said was done and then the outplay of their movements be it on the same track is for us to observe. No point repeating or getting involved any further.

Saying nothing, wanting to sound cool or be ok with whatever sound they want to bombard through devices in their ears is not helping anyone and the cost to society is huge – just go back and re-read the stats above and then continue reading this article.

Next –

Staggering statistics in all regions around the world with millions and millions living with Hearing Loss and the fact we have projections of what to expect in a few decades regarding Hearing problems is an absolute wake up call.

Hearing Loss can happen when any part of the Ear or Auditory (Hearing) system is not working in the usual way.
There are 4 Types of Hearing Loss:

Conductive Hearing Loss
Hearing Loss caused by something that stops sounds from getting through the outer or middle ear. This type of Hearing Loss can often be treated with medicine or surgery.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Hearing Loss occurs when there is a problem in the way the inner ear or Hearing nerve works.

Mixed Hearing Loss
Hearing Loss that includes both a Conductive and a Sensorineural Hearing Loss.

Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder
Hearing Loss that occurs when sound enters the ear normally, but because of damage to the inner ear or the Hearing nerve, sound isn’t organised in a way that the brain can understand.

The degree of Hearing Loss can range from mild to profound:

Mild Hearing Loss
A person with a mild Hearing Loss may hear speech sounds but soft sounds are hard to hear.

Moderate Hearing Loss
A person with a moderate Hearing Loss may hear almost no speech when another person is talking at a normal level.

Severe Hearing Loss
A person with severe Hearing Loss will hear no speech when a person is talking at a normal level and only some loud sounds.

Profound Hearing Loss
A person with a profound Hearing Loss will not hear any speech and only very loud sounds.

Hearing Loss can also be described as:

Unilateral or Bilateral
Hearing Loss is in one ear (unilateral) or both ears (bilateral).

Pre-lingual of Post-lingual
Hearing Loss happened before a person learned to talk (pre-lingual) or after a person learned to talk (post-lingual).

Symmetrical or Asymmetrical
Hearing Loss is the same in both ears (symmetrical) or is different in each ear (asymmetrical).

Progressive or Sudden
Hearing Loss worsens over time (progressive) or happens quickly (sudden).

Fluctuating or Stable
Hearing Loss gets either better or worse over time (fluctuating) or stays the same over time (stable).

Congenital or Acquired/Delayed Onset
Hearing Loss is present at birth (congenital) or appears sometime later in life (acquired or delayed onset).
(14)

In the above section, we have the 4 types of Hearing Loss and the degree of Hearing Loss.

How many of us actually have a degree of Hearing Loss but it is no big deal, un-noticed, under the radar, not spoken about, nothing to worry others or concern anyone about etc., etc?

We know that Hearing Loss has been referred to as an “invisible disability” and are we ensuring it stays “invisible” because the symptoms are not that bad, (says the voice inside our head) and we don’t want to alarm anyone if we can manage to continue functioning with ‘business as usual’ – our normal mode of operating, which is Ignoring any communication from our body.

How Loudness is Measured

The unit of measurement used to express the intensity of a sound is the decibel (dB).
A whisper is around 30dB and normal conversation approximately 60dB.

Some other common sounds – their approximate intensities (in dB) examples below.

Sound in Intensity Decibels  Examples of Type of Sound at the Specified Intensity

10 dB      Normal Breathing
30 dB      Soft whispering
40 dB         Library
60 dB    Normal conversation
80 dB    Doorbell
85 dB     

Heavy traffic (inside car)

90 dB      Shouted conversation
95 dB       Motorcycle
100 dB     Hair dryer
105 dB            Car horn at 5 meters
110 dB           Shouting in the ear
120 dB       Standing near a siren
130 dB       Jackhammer
140 dB    Airplane taking off
150 dB  

Firecrackers (15)

 

Hearing Loss and Deafness

A person who is not able to hear as well as someone with normal Hearing – Hearing thresholds of 20dB or better in both ears is said to have Hearing Loss.

Hearing Loss may be mild, moderate, severe or profound. It can affect one ear or both ears and leads to difficulty in Hearing conversational speech or loud sounds.

‘Hard of Hearing’ refers to people with Hearing Loss ranging from mild to severe. Those who are hard of Hearing usually communicate through spoken language and can benefit from Hearing aids, cochlear implants and other assistive devices as well as captioning.

‘Deaf’ people mostly have profound Hearing Loss, which implies very little or no Hearing. They often use sign language for communication. (2)

Causes of Hearing Loss and Deafness

Although these factors can be encountered at different periods across the life span, individuals are most susceptible to the effects during critical periods in life.

Prenatal Period

  • Genetic factors including hereditary and non-hereditary Hearing Loss
  • Intrauterine infections – such as rubella and cytomegalovirus infection

Perinatal Period

  • Birth asphyxia (a lack of oxygen at the time of birth)
  • Hyperbilirubinemia (severe jaundice in the neonatal period)
  • Low birth weight
  • Other perinatal morbidities and their management

Childhood and Adolescence

  • Chronic ear infections (Chronic Suppurative Otitis Media)
  • Collection of fluid in the ear (Chronic Nonsuppurative Otitis Media)
  • Meningitis and other infections

Adulthood and Older Age

  • Chronic diseases
  • Smoking
  • Otosclerosis
  • Age-related Sensorineural degeneration
  • Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Factors across the Life Span

  • Cerumen impaction (impacted earwax)
  • Trauma to the ear or head
  • Loud noise/loud sounds
  • Ototoxic medicines
  • Work related Ototoxic chemicals
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Viral infections and other ear conditions
  • Delayed onset or progressive genetic Hearing Loss (2)

The above section gives us a guideline – an indication what the number is for measuring the loudness of different sounds. This unit of measurement is what they call decibel (dB).

Even normal breathing has a decibel and if most of us were quizzed, doubt we would realise that a police siren close by is less than a firecracker or aeroplane taking off.

What is worth noting is raising voices – those shouting conversations that are super normal in many households and pubs and clubs have an impact on those delicate ears of ours, not to mention our Heart as we are super sensitive beings, even if we would like to think we are not.

Next –

We ought to note the above periods in life where individuals are most susceptible to Hearing Loss.

Most of us would simply consider it the norm and part of childhood or adolescence growing up and never Question a chronic ear infection or collection of fluid in the ear or other infections.

WHY does that age group become more susceptible during this ‘critical period’ of their life?

What if we started to explore and ask More Questions, like what was going on at the time, when this was triggered? What happened?

As adults and elders (of older age), we simply cannot be surprised to learn that Smoking can affect our Hearing. There is yet to be any single benefit for the human vehicle when it comes to smoking. We have known this for centuries and yet we are not even close to nailing it and removing all forms of Smoking and that includes Marijuana and Vaping, which we all know is as addictive as smoking cigarettes but wait – we need more research and then some more for another few decades before we will all admit Yes Vaping is the same as smoking cigarettes. Not quite there yet even though there is enough evidence today to confirm the harm of Smoking any substance that alters our natural state.

Next –

If we know loud sounds and loud noise can lead to Hearing Loss now or in the future, would it not be a wise move to take note. Nothing Complicated here – just super Simple.

Our ears were never designed to take the impact of loud sounds of any kind and if we repeatedly assault our ears with our Lifestyle Choices of loud music, loud podcasts and loud sounds where it is magnified with earpods, earbuds or the big muffs know as headphones then chances are we are heading down the dodgy track which is leading to the inevitable – signposted HEARING LOSS. Carry on, do a U-turn, or pretend we will be ok as we class ourselves as ‘still young with no signs yet’?

Earwax Build-up

Earwax is produced inside the ears to keep them clean and free of germs. It usually passes out of the ears harmlessly but sometimes too much can build up and block the ears. (16)

Earwax is useful in small amounts. It is a natural cleanser as it moves from inside the ear canal outward, gathering dead skin cells, hair and dirt along the way. Dead skin and other debris combine with secretions from sebaceous and modified sweat glands to create earwax.

Tests have shown that it has antibacterial and antifungal properties. If the ears do not have enough earwax, they are likely to feel uncomfortable and itchy.

The Development of Earwax

The medical term for earwax is cerumen, which comes from cera, Latin for wax.

It starts with a mixture of fatty secretions from the sebaceous glands and sweat glands in the walls of the outer ear canal.

Jaw movement from chewing or talking helps propel those secretions through the canal to the ear opening, where they dry up and harmlessly flake off. (17)

A build-up of earwax is a common problem that can often be treated using eardrops from a pharmacy. If this does not work, the GP may suggest having the ears washed out.

If none of the above work, the GP may refer to ENT – Ear Nose and Throat department for specialised treatment.

What Can Cause an Earwax Build-Up

Some people regularly get blocked ears because they produce a lot of earwax.

Other factors that can increase the risk of too much earwax include:

  • Producing naturally hard or dry earwax
  • Having narrow or hairy ear canals (the tube between the opening of the ear and the eardrum).
  • Being elderly, as earwax becomes drier with age
  • Bony growths in the outer part of the ear canal

Earwax can also block your ear if you frequently insert objects into the ear canal, such as cotton buds, ear plugs or Hearing aids. (16)  

Earwax that picks up a lot of debris or sits in the ear canal for a long time can get hard and dry, which is likely to cause a blockage. Conditions that produce a lot of dry, flaking skin, like eczema, can result in hard earwax.

With age, the glandular secretions change consistency, so they do not travel easily through the ear canal.

Dry earwax is more common in East Asians.

Hearing aids which block the normal migration of earwax out of the ear, may also stimulate glands in the ear canal to produce more secretions.

60% and 70% of the Hearing aids sent for repair are damaged by earwax.

It gets into vents and receivers and the acidity degrades components. (17)

Never try to remove a build-up of earwax with fingers, cotton bud or other objects.
This can damage the ear and push the wax further down.

If the earwax is causing minor problems, buy eardrops from a pharmacy. This can make hearing or symptoms worse at first before getting better. Eardrops can help soften the earwax so that it falls out naturally.

There are eardrops containing sodium bicarbonate, olive oil or almond oil.
Eardrops are not suitable for everyone and some can irritate the skin.
Eardrops should not be used if there is a perforated eardrum, which is a hole or tear in the eardrum. (16)

Management of Earwax

Build-up of earwax can block the ear canal (impaction) giving a temporary Hearing Loss and discomfort and can contribute to outer ear infections (Otitis Externa).

Hearing Loss due to impacted wax can be frustrating and stressful and, if untreated, can contribute to social isolation and Depression. Wax in the ear canal can also prevent adequate clinical examination of the ear, delaying assessment and management; for example, audiologists cannot test Hearing or prescribe and fit Hearing aids and doctors cannot examine the eardrum if the ear canal is blocked with wax. (18)

The Impact of Unaddressed Hearing Loss

When unaddressed, Hearing Loss impacts many aspects of life at an individual level:

  • Communication and speech
  • Cognition
  • Education and employment: In developing countries, children with Hearing Loss and deafness often do not receive schooling. Adults with Hearing Loss also have a much higher unemployment rate. Among those who are employed, a higher percentage of people with Hearing Loss are in the lower grades of employment compared with the general workforce.
  • Social Isolation, Loneliness and Stigma
  • Impact on society and economy
  • Effect on Years Lived with Disability (YDLs) and Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs). (2)

$980 BILLION
Annual global cost the World Health Organization estimates of unaddressed Hearing Loss. This includes health sector costs (excluding the cost of Hearing devices), costs of educational support, loss of productivity and societal costs. (2) 

This is more than the annual combined health expenditure of Brazil and China (19)

57% of these costs are attributed to low and middle-income countries (2)

Prevention

Many of the causes that lead to Hearing Loss can be avoided through public health strategies and clinical interventions implemented across the life course.

Prevention of Hearing Loss is essential throughout the life course, from pre-natal and peri-natal periods to older age.

60% of Hearing Loss in children is due to avoidable causes that can be prevented through implementation of public health measures.
Likewise, the most common causes of Hearing Loss in adults, such as exposure to loud sounds and Ototoxic Medicines are preventable. (2)

Medications that Harm Hearing

Over 600 drugs have been linked to Hearing Loss and Tinnitus, including over-the-counter Pain relievers. (20) 

Ototoxic Medications

Some medications damage the ear.
This can cause Hearing loss, ringing in the ear or balance problems.
These medications are considered Ototoxic.

Balance problems are where you feel like you are spinning and unsteady on your feet and have trouble seeing clearly while moving. Sometimes the problems are temporary.

The body can learn to adapt to changes in balance.

The effects of Ototoxic Medications can affect quality of life. It can be difficult to participate in conversations if spoken words are not understood. Feeling dizzy can affect the ability to move around or think clearly.

Ototoxic Medications cause damage to the sensory organs used in Hearing and balance.
These organs are made of specialised neural tissue and located in the inner ear.

Over 200 known Ototoxic Medications (prescription and over-the-counter) are on the market today. These include medicines used to treat serious infections, Cancer and Heart Disease.

Ototoxic Medications known to cause Permanent damage include:

  • Certain aminoglycoside antibiotics – gentamicin, tobramycin, amilkacin and streptomycin.
  • Cancer chemotherapy medications, such as cisplatin and carboplatin

Ototoxic Medications known to cause Temporary damage include:

  • Salicylate pain relievers (aspirin to treat pain relief and Heart conditions)
  • Quinine (to treat malaria)
  • Certain diuretics (to treat certain Heart and Kidney conditions)

Chance of Damage increases by:

  • Taking more than one Ototoxic Medication
  • Family history of sensitivity to these medications
  • Exposure to loud noise while taking Ototoxic Medications

Ototoxicity symptoms can appear suddenly or take time to develop and become noticeable. (21) 

Other symptoms of Ototoxic drugs include:

  • Headaches
  • Ears feeling full
  • Inability to move head fully
  • Oscillopsia – illusion of an unstable visual world
  • Difficulty walking (22)

Hearing assessment and ear examination can be conducted in clinical and community settings. Tools such as the World Health Organization “hearWHO” app and other technology-based solutions make it possible to screen for ear diseases and Hearing Loss with limited training and resources.

Once Hearing Loss is identified, it is essential that it is addressed as early as possible and in an appropriate manner to mitigate any adverse impact.

Measures available to rehabilitate people with Hearing Loss include:

  • The use of Hearing technologies, such as Hearing aids, cochlear implants and middle ear implants;
  • The use of sign language and other means of sensory substitution, such as speech reading, use of print on palm or Tadoma, signed communication; and
  • Rehabilitative therapy to enhance perceptive skills and develop communication and linguistic abilities.

The use of Hearing Assistive Technology and services such as frequency modulation and loop systems, alerting devices, telecommunication devices, captioning services and sign language interpretation can further improve access to communication and education for people with Hearing Loss. (2)  

$980,000,000,000 is the global cost for ONE YEAR related to un-addressed Hearing Loss and the World Health Organization says this is an estimate.

How Serious is this when that number with lots of zero’s and not far from the word Trillion is knocking on our doorstep? In other words, we are now aware of how much Hearing Loss is a worldwide issue and yet very few of us know much about it.

Brazil and China are two large countries and if we combine ALL of their annual health expenditure, it happens to be less than the global cost of unaddressed Hearing Loss for one year. WHY is this not making any sense?

If we are told that “many of the causes that lead to Hearing Loss can be avoided…” then WHY on earth are we not bringing this awareness to everyone?

How many more news stories and research studies are we going to wait for when it is inevitable where we are heading?

Add to this –
60% of Hearing Loss in children that is created, which can be prevented.
So where is the action and why are the majority of the world not up to speed when it comes to anything and everything to do with our Hearing?

Again, we have the mention of exposure to loud sounds.

WHY are we not bothered or not prepared to Question WHY we want the loud sounds or WHY it is our preferred option in our Lifestyle when common sense tells us something is surely not right if we need things blasting loud inside our delicate ears? Yes indeed, our ears are super sensitive and very delicate.

Next –

This cannot be Ignored – so this is repeated to alert and wake us all up.
Over 600 drugs have been linked to Hearing Loss and Tinnitus, including over-the-counter Pain relievers. (20) 

As we all know, once we read something we cannot un-read it as we don’t like what is being presented. Let us not pretend or forget when we know that every drug has side effects. This presentation is very pro medicine but if we continue to blindly take drugs and not Question anything, then let’s not be surprised, shocked, depressed or anxious when we hear about side effects such as Hearing Loss even in some over the counter regular pain killers.

Most of us have probably never heard of Ototoxic medications but we may have been prescribed them for serious infections, Cancer or Heart disease.

They are known to cause temporary or permanent damage in some cases and we seem to lack the awareness and education when we take medical drugs.

What if we knew that whilst taking Ototoxic medication – loud noise exposure increases our chance of damaging our ear?

Do we realise that we have specialised neural tissue which is located in our inner ear and these medicines can cause damage to the sensory organs used in Hearing and balance?

Are we a bit laid back, relaxed, not bothered, or ignorant when it comes to the small detail about our body and how it responds or reacts to absolutely everything even if we may not be consciously aware?

What if our delay in responding to what is next needed for our Health actually has huge consequences?

For example – if our symptoms from Ototoxic drugs are just seen as mild side effects, like a Headache or the inability to move the head properly (fully), then chances are we may be Ignoring something that is precipitating and coming soon … Tinnitus or even Hearing Loss.

Not addressing anything that has been identified can have an adverse impact.

One thing to take note is that if we prefer the loud music option in life and are not prepared to Change then it could be possible that we will not be listening out for the constant subtle ringing that is going on inside our ears, which later gets louder and louder and then we want to know why the doctors confirm we have Tinnitus. We cannot be surprised with a diagnosis if we are living in a way that does not correspond with what our body is communicating. We are all super sensitive beings and honouring our sensitivity means we stand by what we feel and not negate it or make out it does not matter when it does. Worth making a start and practice this other way of living which is opposite to how most of us are currently living.

If we do not want to be a Hearing Loss statistic or we would prefer not to lip read or wear a Hearing device or have an implant in the near future, then it is well worth taking note of what has been presented thus far.

World Report on Hearing

The World Report on Hearing was developed with the key purpose of promoting global action for equitable access to Ear and Hearing Care in all settings across the world. The report provides clear evidence to target Hearing Loss as a Global Public Health priority and outlines the H.E.A.R.I.N.G. package of interventions that countries should prioritize, taking into account their national circumstances. The many challenges facing countries in these endeavours are outlined in the report.

The World Report on Hearing envisions a world in which no individual experiences Hearing Loss due to preventable causes and those with Hearing Loss can achieve their full potential through rehabilitation, education and empowerment.

Hearing is the sense with which we perceive the sounds around us; through Hearing we engage with our environment, communicate with others, express our thoughts and gain education.

1.5 BILLION people globally experience some decline in their Hearing capacity during their life course.

430,000,000 will require care.

Loss of Hearing, if not identified and addressed can have far-reaching consequences adversely affecting language development, psychosocial well-being, quality of life, educational attainment and economic independence at various stages of life.

The Hearing Mechanism

Sounds travel through the outer part of the ear to strike and set into vibration the tympanic membrane (eardrum). These vibrations are transmitted through the three ossicles (bones) in the middle ear to the cochlea in the inner ear.

The outer and middle ears serve to amplify the sound vibrations setting into motion the fluid contained within the cochlea. This movement is transduced by hair (sensory) cells within the cochlea to an electrical, nervous impulse that is transmitted by the auditory nerve to the brain where it is perceived as sound.

700,000,000 people, mostly children below the age of 5 are affected annually by acute middle ear infection.

Case Study

22 year old male university student (MB) suffered permanent Hearing damage from listening to music at very high volume while exercising on a treadmill.

On a regular day, whilst listening to music with earphones, MB experienced pain in his ears and head, followed by lasting Hearing Loss, which affected his social and academic life.

It took a year for multiple consulting doctors to understand the association between his Hearing Loss and his habit of listening to loud music.

MB now has permanent difficulty in listening and finds conversation challenging in situations with background noise.

21 MILLION ADULTS in the USA who reported no exposure to loud or very loud noise at work showed evidence of noise-induced Hearing Loss.

Development of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
It is well established that noise damages the structures within the cochlea in a dose-response manner – i.e. the higher the amount of exposure, the greater the impact. Sometimes, such damage may manifest only as a difficulty in understanding speech in a noisy environment – a typical complaint associated with Tinnitus, the sensation of ringing in the ear and the phenomenon known as “Hidden Hearing Loss”.

Tinnitus
Derived from the Latin verb tinnire (to ring) and refers to the conscious perception of an auditory sensation in the absence of a corresponding external stimulus. Tinnitus is commonly an outcome of noise exposure and may accompany or occur in the absence of clinically evident Hearing Loss.

Research shows that workers exposed to noise are more likely to experience Tinnitus. Tinnitus may also be caused by other auditory and non-auditory conditions. The onset, perception and impact of Tinnitus can be influenced in the general population ranges from 5.1% to 42.7% while bothersome Tinnitus is encountered 3% to 30% of the population.

Hidden Hearing Loss
The condition where an individual experiences common symptoms associated with noise-related auditory damage, such as difficulty in hearing noise, Tinnitus and Hyperacusis.

Hidden Hearing Loss (HHL) is undetectable on pure tone audiometry, which shows normal Hearing sensitivity at 250-8000 Hz. The condition is attributed to the destruction of synaptic connections between hair cells and cochlear neurons (cochlear synaptopathy) which occurs well before the hair cells are damaged and as a result of exposure to noise.

It is likely that many people struggle with Hidden Hearing Loss and that it occurs in younger age groups due to increasing exposure to recreational noise.

It is also suggested that the changes caused by noise exposure, even in early life, make the ears significantly more vulnerable to ageing and hasten the onset of age-related Hearing Loss.

Irrespective of its presentation, the progression of irreversible noise-related auditory damage is relentless so long as the exposure continues. (3)

Studying the Long-Term Impact of Sound Exposure: The Apple Hearing Study*
University of Michigan, USA and Apple**

2019
A large-scale study was launched to better understand the long-term sound exposure and its impact on Hearing Health. The outcomes of the study were to help guide public health policy and prevention programmes designed to protect and promote Hearing Health both in the USA and Globally. (3) 

2021

10% of study participants have been diagnosed with Hearing Loss by a professional.

75% of these participants do not use assistive support such as a Hearing aid or cochlear implant, even though such devices can help reduce the impacts of Hearing Loss.

20% of participants have Hearing Loss when compared to WHO standards.

10% have Hearing Loss that is consistent with noise exposure.
Data collected using the study’s Hearing Tests

50% have not had their Hearing tested by a professional in at least 10 years

25% experience ringing in their ears a few times a week or more, which could be a sign of Hearing damage.

Users across the U.S. are participating in the Apple Hearing Study through the Apple Research App. (23)  

The use of home remedies for common ear conditions (such as ear pain) is widespread and can cause harm rather than give benefits.

Ear candling, plant juice and hot oil instillation should not be used to treat ear diseases or conditions. Seeking care from untrained providers as is common practice in some parts of the world, should not be used.

Seeking prompt medical attention

Seeking timely medical care for the treatment of common colds, ear pain, ear fullness, ear discharge, bleeding from the ear or Hearing Loss, can help prevent or identify Ear and Hearing problems. These symptoms can indicate an underlying ear disease such as Otitis Media and commonly require a medical evaluation for diagnosis and management. While ear fullness, pain and slight Hearing Loss may be due to cerumen impaction (earwax blockage), it cannot be presumed to be the cause and needs confirmation by a trained health-care provider. (3)

Age Differences in Hearing Loss

The global prevalence of moderate or higher grades of Hearing Loss increases with age.

  • 12.7% at the age of 60 years
  • 58% at 90 years

Notable is that over 58% of moderate or higher grade Hearing Loss is experienced by adults above the age of 60 years.

Hearing Loss According to Severity

  • 16 BILLION people worldwide with mild Hearing Loss
  • 400 MILLION live with Hearing Loss that ranges from moderate to severe
  • 30 MILLION have profound or complete Hearing Loss in both ears

Cochlear Implant

A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted device that works by transducing acoustic energy into an electrical signal, which is used to stimulate auditory nerve fibres. The implant has 2 components:

1. The external system which includes:

  • a microphone for sensing sounds
  • a speech processor to transform the acoustic information into a sequence of electrical stimuli; and
  • an external transmitter for transmission of stimulus across the skin to the implanted system.

2. The implanted system which includes:

  • an internal receiver to process the stimuli received;
  • a multiwire cable to connect the receiver to electrodes; and
  • an electrode array that is inserted into the cochlea and directly stimulates neurons in the inner ear

Direct stimulation of the auditory nerve bypasses the damaged or absent cochlear hair cells, making them a suitable form of intervention for individuals with a severe to profound Sensorineural Hearing Loss. (3) 

Bone Conduction and Middle Ear Implants

Bone Conduction and Middle Ear Implants represent another growing area of technological advancement in the field of Hearing Rehabilitation.

Bone conduction implants transmit sound to the inner ear through the bones of the skull, bypassing the middle ear.

Active middle ear implants may be fully or partially implanted in the ear.
They function by converting sound into kinetic energy which directly vibrates the middle ear ossicles or transmits the vibrations to the inner ear.

All individuals with Conductive, Sensorineural or Mixed Types of Hearing Loss can potentially use these aids; they do not require the external ear canal to be blocked and thereby reduce many of the problems associated with conventional Hearing aids (e.g. wax impaction). The implants are also effective in those with middle-ear diseases and external ear malformations. (3)

Hearing Loss linked to Erectile Dysfunction Medication

Erectile Dysfunction Medications have gained popularity as effective treatments.
However, findings suggest a potential association between these drugs and Hearing Loss in men.
This condition is called sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss.
The medications, known as PDE-5 inhibitors (including Sildenafil) are linked to an increased risk of Hearing Loss.

Typically, this Hearing Loss affects one ear within a day of taking one of these drugs.
One-third of the time, the Hearing Loss is temporary.

2007
Report published in The Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery documented one notable case that initially raised concerns about the connection between PDE-5 inhibitors and sudden Hearing Loss. The report detailed a man who experienced sudden Hearing Loss in both ears shortly after using a particular brand of Sidenafil.

Consequently, after administering these medications, the FDA began monitoring for similar cases of sudden Hearing Loss in one or both ears, sometimes accompanied by Tinnitus (ringing in the ears). (24) 

The findings prompted the Federal Drug Administration to send out a new warning and more information was added to drug labels.

Other uses for PDE-5 inhibitors

This class of drugs is also used to treat Pulmonary Hypertension, which is increased blood pressure in the lung arteries. (25)

PDE-5i medications work in ED patients by their ability to increase blood flow to certain tissues in the body.
It has been hypothesised that they may have a similar effect on similar tissues in the ear, where an increase of blood flow could potentially cause damage leading to Hearing Loss.
Gerald McGwin, Ph.D., – Professor of Epidemiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Public Health (26)

We all know that Erectile Dysfunction medication is big business now and those interested in taking this popular drug of choice are not going to be that concerned about the link with Hearing Loss.

What if it is not a natural behaviour to use a drug to get us prepped for sex and that a stop moment to actually ask WHY this has happened may be the true and sensible approach? Worth pondering on before we jump on the bandwagon of stimulation and distraction without giving a thought to the consequences?

What if we are shutting down the real transmission from our inner-most heart, which is communicating that we need to listen and follow through by honouring what we truly feel as a sensitive man in this world, without trying to please, pander, accommodate or move away from this, as most men are not going there?

Whether we suffer temporary loss or not, surely a natural way of living will benefit us down the road and also inspire others that it is ok to accept Another Way of living that is beyond doubt not going to give us the ‘side effects’ that drugs like this can bring.

No amount of warnings or labels with more information is going to stop us seeking and using what we want that we are convinced will give us the short term result because that is what these drugs are designed for.

AND finally, on the topic of drugs used to get an erection – they were never originally designed for this purpose. As the section above highlights, the drug is also used to increase blood flow to certain tissues in the body like the lung arteries. Whilst the researchers are not absolute, which they never are as there is always more to study. They have said this increase in blood flow could have a similar effect on tissues in the ears and therefore potentially cause damage which leads to Hearing Loss.

Whether we want to subscribe to a hypothesis or not, matters not.
A common sense approach may save us the embarrassment of being deaf down the road, which may just hold more substance for us than the short term ‘Let’s get our next thrill’ as we crave momentary intimacy, that is not Real.

Royal National Institute for Deaf People

12 million people in the UK affected by Hearing Loss (27)

Signs of Gradual Hearing Loss

The common signs that you might have Hearing Loss:

  • Turning the TV up louder than others want
  • Finding it hard to follow conversations in pubs and restaurants
  • Struggling to hear on the phone
  • Often asking people to repeat what they say
  • Having your partner complain that you don’t listen to them
  • Feeling that other people mumble

The only way Hearing Loss can be confirmed is through a full Hearing test.
An audiologist (Hearing specialist) will examine the ears, diagnose any Hearing Loss and discuss the treatment options with you.

Technology and assistive devices for people with Hearing Loss can help in difficult situations – whether that is chatting in a busy room or listening to the TV.

If there are sounds like ringing, whistling or whooshing inside the head or ears, this could be Tinnitus. Tinnitus is often, but not always linked to Hearing Loss. (28) 

How many of us take any notice if we have a partner or Family member in the home turning up the TV louder?

What if this is a clear indication – a message that it is not because there is too much other ‘noise’ around but because they genuinely are finding it difficult to hear properly?

We all know there is stigma around Hearing Loss and in many cases when socialising, it can be laughed about and not taken seriously, so we Ignore or override that it is happening.

Basic 101 signs when we need things repeated or the telephone calls we avoid as our Hearing is not up to standard cannot be negated or dismissed. Basic Self Care is addressing absolutely anything that we can sense is not right, regardless of what others may say, think, do or not do.

For those with partners that complain of not listening, well worth checking if we have other ‘hard of hearing’ symptoms as all of this could be the signs of Gradual Hearing Loss.

Next –

We all know the basic commerce of SUPPLY AND DEMAND.

Note that there is no supplier in business unless a DEMAND is created first.
So if we complain about something and Blame those supplying – Stop and pause then admit there has to be a DEMAND for the supplier to then supply whatever it is we are demanding.

Many opticians now offer audiology services as this seems to be a growing market.

On that note – there has recently been a lot more advertisements and marketing for Hearing aids. This is because there is obviously a need and we are seeking (demanding) suppliers out there we can choose and they are most certainly ready for the DEMAND. 

Our newspapers have full page advertisements saying –
Can’t quite hear your wife or husband, the TV, colleagues at work, or the loving words of your grandchildren?

Then these spectacle Hearing aids could be the answer if you are having a Hearing problem.

Enjoy the benefits of glasses and a Hearing device.

A remarkable invention that can help overcome two problems at once.

Sounds great – where and how can we sign up?

What we want is a Solution to the problem but we do not want to find out how and why we have developed the symptoms that led to the problem?

Our scientists have done a grand job in finding cures but what if we demanded more from them and as a collective asked for the root cause of HOW and WHY we develop Hearing Loss?

This is not a random ‘unlucky’ in life card that has been dealt and we are not the victim here, so a dose of Honesty and Responsibility to ask some sensible Questions may be worth considering.

Same newspaper two pages later – huge advertisement showing us the old fashion big style Hearing aid next to the miniscule modern day barely see it Hearing aid.

This one appeals to those that like the offers –

  • Free Hearing Test
  • Free Lifetime Aftercare
  • Wax Removal
  • 4 Year Warranty
  • Interest Free Credit
  • Smartphone Compatible
  • Rechargeable Hearing Aids
  • Invisible Hearing Aids

AND if you sign up you get an e-gift card from the favourite department store where we all like to shop.

Hearing aids are now a fast-growing industry and on target to reach the $10.2 BILLION in 2 years (2026). The growth is coming from the rise in geriatric population, the growing prevalence of Hearing Loss and the rising incidence of noise-induced Hearing Loss. (29)

What is further projected to drive the market’s growth is technological advancements in Hearing aids, such as digital Hearing aids which enable better sound amplification and improved user experience. (29)

Technology and Assistive Devices

Alerting Devices

Smoke Alarm systems

If you are deaf or have Hearing Loss, there are some alarm systems available that can help alert when an alarm goes off in the home. (30)

Alarm Clocks

Tailored bedside and portable alarm clocks normally include an extra loud alarm, a flashing light and a vibrating pad to place under our pillow. If a smartphone or tablet alarm clock is used, there is a vibrating pad to alert. This can be connected to the smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth.

Baby Monitors

Specialised baby monitors can include a unit with a visual display that flashes to alert and a vibrating pad to place under the pillow or mattress to wake you up at night. They may also have a built-in television camera to allow you to see your baby on a display screen when in another room.

Multi-Alerting Systems

The combines with all your alerts – e.g., doorbell and home phone to notify one or more receiver devices.

When you get an alert, the portable receiver lets you know by vibrating, flashing a light or with a loud alarm sound.

Some systems also have an option to receive alerts on a smartphone. (31)

Doorbells

These devices that are available can help alert when someone is at the door, for those that are deaf or have Hearing Loss and find it difficult to hear the doorbell if it is near the front door or in a hallway. (32)  

Video Gamers Worldwide May Be Risking Irreversible Hearing Loss and/or Tinnitus

Video Gamers Worldwide may be risking Irreversible Hearing Loss and/or Tinnitus – persistent ringing/buzzing in the ears finds a systematic review available evidence, published in the open access journal BMJ Public Health.

What evidence suggests that the sound levels reported in studies of more than 50,000 people often near or exceed permissible safe limits, conclude the researchers.

Given the popularity of these games, greater public health efforts are needed to raise awareness of the potential risks, they urge.

Headphones, earbuds and music venues have been recognised as sources of potentially unsafe sound levels, relatively little attention has been paid to the effects of Video Games, including E-sports on Hearing loss, say the researchers.

Gamers often play at high-intensity sound levels and for several hours at a time.

3 Billion gamers worldwide in 2022, one estimate indicates.

To build evidence base, researchers looked at databases for relevant studies, white papers, newsletters, reports and proceedings, collectively referred to as ‘grey literature’ published at any point in English, Spanish or Chinese.

53,833 people, 14 peer reviewed studies from 9 countries in North America, Europe, South East Asia, Asia and Australasia were included in the review.

Reported sound levels ranged from –
43.2 decibels (dB) Mobile devices and 80-89 dB – Gaming Centres

Children
Permissible noise exposure level is defined as 75dB for 40 hours a week

Safely listen to

  • 83 dB sound for 6.5 hours
  • 86 dB for 3.25 hours
  • 92 dB for 45 minutes
  • 98dB for 12 minutes a week

Another large observational study reported that Video Gaming was associated with increased odds of self-reported Hearing Loss severity.

According to another study –
10 million people in the USA may be exposed to ‘loud’ or ‘very loud’ sound levels from video computer games.

One study measured sound levels of 5 video games through headphones attached to the gaming console and found that these averaged 88.5, 87.6, 85.6 and 91.2 dB for 4 separate shooter games and 85.6 dB for a racing game.

The authors concluded that the daily level of sound exposure from these Video Games is close to maximum permissible levels of sound exposure.

“Although the data provided are limited, they suggest that some gamers, particularly those who play frequently and at or above the average sound levels described by papers included in this review, probably exceed permissible sound exposure limits and are thus engaging in unsafe listening practices, which could put them at risk for developing permanent Hearing loss and/or Tinnitus.” (33, 34)


Safe Listening in Video Gaming and E-Sports

How Excessive Sound Exposure Affects Hearing

Hearing damage caused by loud noise has been documented for over a century.

Loud sounds can cause the sensory cells in the ear to become fatigued, leading to temporary or permanent Hearing Loss. Temporary Hearing Loss is characterised by muffled hearing or ringing in the ears (Tinnitus) and it usually resolves within a few hours or days. However, prolonged exposure to loud sounds can cause permanent Hearing Loss, which is irreversible.
World Health Organization & International Telecommunication Union 2019 (35)  

Hearing Loss from loud sound exposure, also known as “Noise-Induced Hearing Loss” can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. It can make it difficult to communicate, participate in social activities and enjoy hobbies. In some cases, it can also lead to Depression and Anxiety.

Initially, noise exposure was considered an occupational hazard that may result in Hearing Loss and Tinnitus. The study of the relationship between noise exposure and damage to the auditory system eventually led to the development of legislated workplace noise exposure limits in many parts of the world, based on sound dosage, i.e., sound level and duration.

More recently, recreational noise has also been recognized as a potential hazard for hearing and research into sound levels from a range of sources, including entertainment venues and personal listening devices (PLDs), has been undertaken and the World Health Organization now estimates that MORE THAN 1 BILLION young adults are at risk of Hearing Loss due to unsafe listening practices from recreational sound sources. Dillard, et al., 2022 (35)

This has to be repeated for all of us to take a Stop moment.

HEARING DAMAGE CAUSED BY LOUD NOISE HAS BEEN DOCUMENTED FOR OVER A CENTURY. (35)

After 100 years we know that when we subject our delicate and sensitive ears to loud un-necessary sounds, we are heading down the Hearing Loss road which will be inevitable, unless we Change our movements – that means our behaviours.

If we know loud sounds cause our sensory cells in the ear to become fatigued, which then can lead to Hearing Loss, is that enough confirmation, or do we prefer to ignore it and continue our ‘business as usual’ style of operating until we get the Tinnitus diagnosis?

Even at that point, do we wake up and realise lots of people live with the ringing of some kind in their ears and it’s called Tinnitus, so we do not pay much attention or give it air time as it’s like the ‘New Normal’?

Our world is creating ills that have been ‘normalised’ when they are in truth, far from normal in the true sense.

PROLONGED EXPOSURE TO LOUD SOUNDS CAN CAUSE PERMANENT HEARING LOSS, WHICH IS IRREVERSIBLE. (35)

Does that sentence disturb us, bother us, scare us or do we say  –

“Holy Moly why do I need blasting sounds in my ears”

and

“Why am I always seeking more and more, like an insatiable appetite, hungry and then fed with high decibels and within minutes, wanting and seeking more of the same?”

Next –

Pay attention as this is super SERIOUS.
Recreational noise (the stuff we do because we can in our own time) like entertainment venues and PLDs (personal listening devices) has been recognised as a POTENTIAL HAZARD FOR HEARING.

MORE THAN 1,000,000,000 YOUNG ADULTS ARE AT RISK OF HEARING LOSS DUE TO UNSAFE LISTENING PRACTICES FROM RECREATIONAL SOUND SOURCES.

If our younger generation are doing ‘UNSAFE’ listening practices – have we considered that this is going to one day be our adult population?

Our health systems are at breaking point and now we have new types of illness and disease due to our Lifestyle Choices.

A reminder to All – listening to what we want, when we want, how we want and where we want has consequences.

USA

Hearing problems among American veterans are the most prevalent service-connected disability.

933,000 American veterans receive compensation for Hearing Loss. (3)

  • 1 in 9 Americans of all ages have bilateral Hearing Loss (36)
  • 1 in 3 age 65 – 75 have Hearing Loss
  • 50% age 75+ have difficulty Hearing (37)

The rate of Hearing Loss in the United States is expected to double in the next 4 decades.

Hearing Loss is the 3rd most common chronic physical condition in the U.S – twice as prevalent as Diabetes and Cancer.

Hearing Loss in the U.S. is expected to INCREASE by 30 million in the next 4 decades. (38)

Age-Related Hearing Loss is called Presbycusis (37)

MILD HEARING LOSS DOUBLES THE RISK OF DEMENTIA

MODERATE HEARING LOSS TRIPLES THE RISK OF DEMENTIA

Untreated Hearing Loss – twice as likely to be underemployed or unemployed and spend 46% more on
Health1 care services per decade.

Those who treat their Hearing Loss wait an average of 10 years to do so.

Barriers to Hearing care include cost, lack of awareness and limited access to Health2 care services. (38)

2020
An international review in medical journal The Lancet, suggested that Hearing Loss is one of 12 key risk factors for Dementia that are possibly modifiable (factors that can be changed to reduce Dementia risk).

The review suggested that
1 in 3 cases of Dementia could be prevented if more people looked after their Health1 throughout their lives.

Other key risk factors for Dementia include social isolation, Smoking and Depression.

Unaddressed Hearing Loss in mid-life was predicted to be the highest potentially modifiable risk factor for developing Dementia. This is hugely important.

Hearing Loss can sometimes be mis-diagnosed as Dementia. People with Dementia can have difficulty communicating with others, including finding the right words, or signs, for what they want to say. They may have difficulty processing what they have heard, particularly if there are distractions. (39)

Sensorineural Hearing Loss is one of the most prevalent types.

Hearing Loss for many people, is much more about Hearing incorrectly than not Hearing at all.
Brad Ingrao – Audiologist (38)

Having trouble understanding conversations can lead to isolation, Loneliness and Depression over time, as people lose connections with their loved ones and community. (38)

Gender

Hearing Loss is more common in men than in women.

2018

18.5% of men and 12.3% of women ages 18 and older reporting trouble hearing.

Attributed to the fact that men are more likely than women to work in jobs that expose them to excess noise, such as construction, manufacturing and active duty military service.

$4,600 average price of prescription Hearing aids.
3rd largest purchase many people make in their lifetime after a house and car.

For many Americans living on a limited budget or fixed income, that price is too high.

The most common complaint in a survey conducted was that Hearing aids were expensive.
Reviews Team – National Council on Aging (38)

This means that millions of people with Hearing Loss go untreated, which often leads to other Health1 issues and higher Health2 care costs over time. (38)

Men were more likely to have Hearing Loss than women after age 35.
Non-Hispanic Whites had higher rates of Hearing Loss than other races and ethnicities.

Higher Hearing Loss prevalence was associated with smaller population size.

Highest standardised rate of bilateral Hearing Loss:

  • West Virginia
  • Alaska
  • Wyoming
  • Oklahoma
  • Arkansas

Lowest standardised rate of bilateral Hearing Loss:

  • Washington D.C.
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Maryland
  • Connecticut (40)

The lack of Hearing professionals is of particular concern for rural Americans.
Data from United States Department of Agriculture shows rural areas tend to have older populations compared to urban regions and the trend is growing.

22% rise in number of rural residents age over 65 from 2010 to 2020.

22% of Americans work in an environment with unsafe noise levels.

12.5% of children between 6 and 19 have some degree of Hearing Loss caused by listening to audio devices (particularly earbuds) turned up too loudly.

7,000 teenagers Hearing exam data found:

  • 17.5% have some degree of Hearing Loss
  • 73.6% were exposed to loud noise at school
    2020 survey conducted by the CDC (38)

Many people who are exposed to loud noise, whether through music, equipment or recreational activities do not realise the damage it is causing to their ears until they have noticeable Hearing Loss, which often shows up as difficulty understanding conversations.

2010
38 million Americans aged 20 and older with Hearing Loss

2020
44 million

2060
73.5 million – Trend set to continue with Hearing Loss predicted to affect
(38)

Gorman et al (2017) noted “During the next 43 years, the number of people with Hearing Loss in the United States is projected to almost double and will outpace the overall population growth rate, given the distribution shift toward older adults.” (38, 41)

The incidence of moderate and severe Hearing Loss is predicted to rise more quickly than mild Hearing Loss, which could lead to worse Health1 outcomes and greater financial burdens for individuals, their families and the nation as a whole. (38)

2 – 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with detectable level of Hearing Loss in one or both ears.

Men are almost twice as likely as women to have Hearing Loss among adults aged 20-69.

18% of adults aged 20 – 69 have speech-frequency Hearing Loss in both ears from among those who report 5 or more years of exposure to very loud noise at work, as compared to 5.5% of adults with speech-frequency Hearing Loss in both ears who report no occupational noise exposure.

July 2022
1 million cochlear implants have been implanted worldwide

United States
118,100 devices have been implanted in adults
65,000 in children

5 out of 6 children experience ear infection (Otitis Media) by the time they are 3 years old. (42)  

Did we all know that our veterans in the U.S. have Hearing problems as the most prevalent disability connected to their service work?

Is combat and the deafening sounds they are subjected to ok in any way if it becomes the most ‘prevalent disability?’

At what cost we might say and is it worth it?

Nearly a million American veterans are receiving compensation and it could be more now as these stats were reported in 2021.

Next –

HEARING LOSS – 3rd MOST COMMON CHRONIC PHYSICAL CONDITION TWICE AS PREVALENT as Diabetes and Cancer.

How many in the United States would be aware of this?

We relate to Diabetes and Cancer as it seems to be normal now but Hearing Loss is not really on our everyday radar, but yet we are told it is the 3rd most common chronic physical condition.

CHRONIC – not mild or something we can just dismiss.

If mild Hearing Loss doubles our risk of Dementia and moderate Hearing Loss triples that risk, would it not be wise to sharpen up and pay serious attention to what we are doing and not doing when it comes to our Health1 and well-being and that includes our ears?

For far too long we have been bombarded with Solutions and quick fix remedies and the great medicines, which have helped us enormously, but is it time to have a different approach – another stance?

Yes get the Hearing test and all the support we need but at the same time, Stop and check our Lifestyle Choices and face up to any harmfull behaviours that could be adding to our symptoms before it’s too late and we become that dreaded Statistic we wanted to avoid at all costs.

On the note of Dementia, something most of us fear – how did we feel when we realised that 1 in 3 cases of Dementia could actually be prevented if we took care of our Health1 throughout our lives?

For some it may be ‘too late, bit old now’ or we could start today and it matters not what happened yesterday, last week, last month or many years ago. Get Serious, straighten up and get Real about all life matters and not just a few things that we like.

We cannot un-read what we just read and we cannot un-feel what we just felt. That means we do have the choice where we want to go next after reading this presentation.

We can Deal with the stuff we keep avoiding or putting off and use the Simple Living Global library, which is full of Real life, everyday topics that we can relate to, as it brings awareness and Another Way to live which stops us harming our body. Simple presentations that are for ALL of humanity and there is no subscription to pay – it’s FREE.

Next –

How shocking is it to read that Hearing aids are the 3rd LARGEST PURCHASE we make in our lifetime after a house and car?

This may not be shocking if we know that over 18% of men in the U.S. age 18 or older report trouble Hearing.

We ought to consider, with high costs for Hearing aids ($4,600 average price) not everyone can afford this expense and this is why the most common complaint in a survey conducted was the expensive cost. (38)

It is inevitable that if Hearing Loss is untreated, there will be other Health1 issues and with that comes more Health2 care costs.

If we have one nation with 22% of their workforce subjected to ‘unsafe noise levels’ – it is Simple to work out the trajectory and where it is heading in the years to come.

12.5% of children and teenagers (age 6 – 19) have some degree of Hearing Loss caused by listening to audio devices, in particular earbuds that are turned up too loudly. (38)

The data date is not clear but we know it is few years old and that means we can be confident that the % of children with some degree of Hearing Loss is far higher today?

Not difficult to work out when we all know that our kids and teenagers are big into their ‘switch off from the world’ and zone in with a screen, loud music or video gaming noise.

Of course they are not aware or realise the damage it is causing to their ears until they have noticeable Hearing Loss, like struggling to understand conversations.

There is an upward trend when it comes to Hearing Loss and the predictions and forecasts given are probably under-estimated.


Hearing Aids

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) outlined the following 3 barriers to Hearing aid usage in their final rule on Over the Counter Hearing aids, which hit the market in 2022.

  • High cost of Hearing care
  • Consumers’ concerns they will look or feel “old” with Hearing aids
  • Expectations that the cost of Hearing aids will not be worth it compared to the amount of Hearing improvement.

Many people simply do not realise the importance of Hearing health.

It is not an understatement to say Hearing ability is directly related to your overall health and quality of life.
Frank Lin, MD, PhD, Director of the John Hopkins Center for Cochlear Hearing and Public Health (38)

Untreated Hearing Loss results in the brain processing less sound, which leads to certain pathways dying over time or getting recruited for other processes like sight.

This in turn, may cause a host of other problems, such as Dementia, balance issues (and falls that may result), Depression and more. (38)

How Hearing Loss affects Health and Quality of Life

Even mild Hearing Loss in children interferes with the following:
Moore et al., 2019 (42)

  • Ability to follow classroom discussions
  • Auditory pathways in the brain
  • Communication skills
  • Learning ability (including reading)
  • Working memory (38)

In this final section in our Part 1 on Hearing – it is clear we have a Demand.

Our concern is ‘the look’ – most of us agree we don’t ever want to be seen with a thing in or around our ear that others would know is a Hearing aid.

If we did consider paying the high costs, we are not sure if it would be ‘worth it, compared to the amount of Hearing improvement’ (38)

So the suppliers are busy already finding ways to come up with the discreet, not so obvious and camouflaged look for the latest up to date Hearing aids and the price will be higher than high, so that means many will not go there.

What we may not be aware of is that we are likely to cause a ‘host of other problems, such as dementia, balance issues, falls, Depression and Anxiety…’

Full list is in the section above this commentary.

Next –

If mild Hearing Loss in children is going to affect their ability to learn and communicate, will we wake up and pay attention or are we going to just do life until life does us and that means things happen before we consider taking any form of Action?

Dear World

What if we have not been trained to use our senses correctly and that there is possibly more?

In other words, the very same senses are attuned to more subtle stuff that we never learned about but actually does go on.

What if this IS happening but it is not possible if we do not know what Stillness is?

What if with Stillness, the 6th sense awakens within us and becomes active and this means it is alive, so it directs us like a master, directing the vehicle/ship – the human body.

Next –

What if Stillness allows a gateway to pick up a vibration that will take us deeper inside and there is where we have our inner-most being?

If we are not encouraged to be still in this world then how can we truly feel or hear what our heart is communicating?

What if it is not the way and there is more – much more to consider?

What if we have a 6th sense that can feel and navigate us, like an inner compass?

Yes the ability to FEEL Absolutely EVERYTHING and so it can assist and support us by nudging, communicating and letting us know – for example, No we do not shut out the world and use sound devices to blast our ears with un-necessary noise.

What if this 6th sense simply knows and it FEELS with great precision and works for us – not against us?

What if the music we claim to love so much is not just a song that we like the lyrics to but a lot more…?

What if we are hearing absolutely everything and that means the artists entire lifestyle and their unresolved issues are coming through those sounds and words?

What if this all comes with that album that we play on repeat everyday – have we considered that?

What if we hear what we want to hear because it suits us to block things out, ignore, pretend we can’t hear another, deny or shut down INSTEAD of what there is to truly hear?

As a baby we first develop understanding through hearing those very close to us and then comes the outer auditory (noise). This is worth a reminder as the emphasis we seem to put on the outer noise could be a possible factor in why we end up down the Hearing Loss road.

 

References

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