UK Hearing Loss on the rise!!

Category Archives: Langley Audiology Centre

Langley Audiology Centre

UK Hearing Loss on the rise!!

There are now 11 million people (one in six) in the UK living with hearing loss according to a new report from the national charity Action on Hearing Loss (formerly RNID), with the number increasing to one in five people (15.6 million) by 2035, due to an ageing population. At the same time, hearing loss is the only area that has seen a decrease in medical research funding during the last decade. The charity is urgently calling on the government to stop hearing aid cuts and protect and safeguard the provision of hearing aid services which offer a lifeline to many.

The new report, Hearing Matters, comprehensively details the scale and impact of deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss, demonstrating to NHS commissioners and employers the prevalence and need to tackle it as a major public health condition, in order for them to plan to meet the needs of the increasing number of people with hearing loss so that they are not denied the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

Key report findings:

· Less than 1% of medical research funding is spent on hearing loss – which is the equivalent of just £1.11 for every person affected, in comparison; £11.35 was spent on sight loss for every person affected and £19.79 on research into cardiovascular conditions.

· On average, people often take 10 years to seek help for their hearing loss, with evidence suggesting GPs fail to refer 45% of people reporting hearing problems for any intervention – which research shows can lead to communication difficulties and isolation.

· Hearing loss doubles the risk of developing depression and can lead to anxiety and other mental health conditions.

· People with mild hearing loss face double the risk of developing dementia, with moderate hearing loss leading to three times the risk and severe hearing loss five times the risk of developing dementia.

· In 2013 the UK economy lost more than £24.8 billion in potential output because people with hearing loss were unable to work.

· If low employment rates for people with hearing loss are not addressed, by 2031 the UK economy will lose £38.6 billion a year.

Noise & the risk of losing hearing

The World Health Organization (WHO) says more than 1 billion teenagers and young adults risk losing their hearing by listening to loud music.   To mark International Ear Care Day (which was on March 3), the U.N. agency urged young people to turn down the volume to prevent irreversible damage to their hearing.

…“When this exposure is particularly loud, prolonged or habitual, the sensory cells are damaged permanently leading to irreversible hearing loss,”

Studies in middle-and high-income countries show nearly 50 percent of teenagers and young adults aged 12 to 35 years are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from personal audio devices, and around 40 percent are exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound at concerts, nightclubs etc.

If a person takes a subway to go from one place to the other for half an hour in the morning and a half an hour in the evening, and every day has to turn up the volume on his device because there is so much of noise of the train and everything around, and is listening to — let us say 100 decibels for one hour every day, their hearing is going to get irreversibly damaged in a few years, in a couple of years time for sure.

WHO says unsafe levels of sound vary.  It can mean noise levels of 85 decibels for eight hours a day or 100 decibels for 15 minutes.

Basically as the intensity of sound increases by three decibels, safe listening time goes down by half.

Young people who wear earplugs during concerts can feel as much of a rush from the music at 90 decibels as they can at 110 decibels.

The fact that earplugs may look uncool may be true today, but if there is a change in behavior that may not necessarily be true in the future and wearing earplugs may actually be cool rather than not,

The World Health Organization advises young people to keep the volume down on personal audio devices and limiting use to less than one hour a day.