Are We All Destined To Lose Our Hearing by 2060?

By the year 2020, more than half of adults in the United States will be affected by hearing disorders.

This shocking data comes as a result of a new study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore.

Furthermore, the study—which has been published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery—says that this rate will jump to 67 percent by the year 2060.

Of course, the condition is going to affect older adults more often.

Lead study author Adele Goman notes, “In the coming decades, there will be an increased need for affordable interventions and access to hearing health care services.”

The Johns Hopkins Center on Aging research fellow goes on to say, “Hearing loss is a major public health issue that will affect many more adults. In order to address this issue, novel and cost-effective approaches to hearing health care are needed.”

Goman and her colleagues made this analysis using data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

In addition, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association chief staff officer of audiology Neil DiSarno comments, “This study projects unprecedented growth in this chronic health condition.” Keeping with consistent aspects of health care, he says that professional hearing care can be costly, obviously. He accounts, “In order to provide appropriate treatment to those now experiencing the effects of hearing impairment, an effort must be undertaken to ensure the establishment of both public and private insurance coverage.”

But even outside of these costs, hearing loss can also take an extreme toll on quality of life, hindering your ability to communicate in professional and social environments.

New York Head and NeckInstitute’s, Dr. Ian Storper, notes, “Hearing loss has been associated with a decrease in mental ability; this reminds us of the need for provision of hearing care for our population. Its importance will continue to increase.” Dr. Storper is the Lenox Hill Hospital director of otology at the Center for Hearing and Balance Disorders.

With that, American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery spokesperson, Dr. Debara Tucci, advises that people are not necessarily doomed to suffer this fate as they get older. She comments that the most common cause of hearing loss is prolonged exposure to loud noises (over many years). Thus, she says, “Care should be taken to limit the volume of sound from headphones and limit the exposure to the sound of firearms used at ranges or while hunting and protect oneself from industrial noise at work.”

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