We tend to think of hearing loss as something we might deal with when our parents are seniors, or when we ourselves are much older. Maybe much of what we know about hearing loss came from what we saw in movies and television growing up. We think of seniors who are comically hard of hearing or older adults having trouble hearing conversations, constantly adjusting their hearing aids.
While age-related hearing loss definitely exists, it’s not the only type of hearing loss that can affect us. Different types of hearing loss can strike at any age.
There are so many possible causes that making assumptions prevents people from getting the help they need. The more we know about hearing loss, the more we can protect ourselves or seek help when we or a family member need it.
Who Can Be Affected By Hearing Loss?
Anyone you know can be affected by hearing loss. Did you know people with hearing loss are, on average, only 63 years old when they begin treatment? Considering we also know that most have lived with it for several years by that point, there’s a really wide age range of people who might be experiencing the first signs of hearing loss.
Younger people can lose their hearing due to loud noises or an accident. An illness, infection or a chronic health condition might be causing issues. People living with cancer at any age can be taking medications that can harm their hearing. Hearing loss is uncompromising and doesn’t discriminate in where it can turn up.
What About Older Adults Who Don’t Feel Like Senior Citizens?
By the time we reach age 60, one in seven people has hearing loss. Most of us don’t consider 60 to be old, and in fact, at that age, most of us hope to have a decade or three ahead of us. We are still working and traveling, and we want to spend meaningful time with family and in our communities. We’re definitely concerned with our ability to care for ourselves, and maintaining our independence for years to come.
The average age of clients seeking treatment is coming down, and that’s because our society is slowly becoming more informed about hearing loss. People are seeking help earlier. They’re seeing value in being able to experience and enjoy their lives fully, and understanding support can help them get there.
Why Should I Worry About Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss can rob us of our relationships, our connections with those we love, and our quality of life. When we avoid seeking treatment, we create difficult situations for ourselves and those around us. Hearing loss becomes a reason to avoid certain interactions or situations.
It’s important to understand that accommodating hearing loss usually creates a harder life, not easier. The need to control situations to accommodate hearing loss can result in behaviours that are seen as demanding or difficult personality quirks, pushing others away. It is easier to stay home or decline invitations, but isolation is hard on us all.
What Should I Do If I Suspect A Loss Of Hearing?
At any age, remember that any health concern should be addressed with a health care professional. Just because you are young does not mean a loss of hearing can’t happen to you.
Be wary of assuming something is normal, and don’t let anything prevent you from seeking help. Go ask for a hearing test, no matter your age, and find out more about how a hearing health care provider can support you in doing what you love, now and in the future.