Hearing loss is a vast topic ranging from structure and function of the ear and ear protection to hearing aids and assistive listening devices to latest research on stem cell therapy. Below you can find 10 important and interesting facts about hearing loss that can help you understand this condition better, offer you some guidance and insight as well as useful tips and a look into the future of technical development and medical research.
1. The average time for a person to take action and address their hearing loss from first noticing a hearing problem is about 7-10 years.
2. In the UK, there are around 10 million people with hearing loss. Only 1.4 million out of 2 million hearing aids owners wear them regularly. Additionally, 4 million people could benefit from such a device. It is expected that by 2031, there will be around 14.5 million hard of hearing in the UK alone. Furthermore, about 10% of the population in the UK experience tinnitus (ringing or roaring in the ears).
3. There are different types of hearing loss. It can be conductive (usually temporary and treatable), sensorineural (permanent and manageable) and mixed. Depending on the specific case or type, hearing loss can be helped with medication or treatment of an underlying condition but the most common solution is the use of hearing aids. For severe hearing loss where regular hearing aids cannot alleviate the impairment, cochlear implants (requiring a surgical intervention) may be used.
4. There are various hearing aids available including behind the ear, in the ear, in the canal, completely in the canal, bone anchored and bone conduction. Hearing aids are constantly evolving to provide a better sound quality, interaction with other electronic devices as well as to fit the individual taste by varying in design, size and colour.
5. Contrary to many people’s beliefs, hearing aids can be affordable and of good quality. In addition, you can choose the most suitable hearing aid for you online or even obtain one free of charge from the NHS along with battery replacements.
6. Used hearing aids may be donated or given for recycling along with used hearing aid batteries.
7. The two most common causes for hearing loss are noise and natural age progression.
8. Hearing loss has significant consequences on the sufferer’s lifestyle if left untreated. The condition can lead to isolation, trouble communicating, depression, frustration (especially in noisy situations), and a withdrawal from daily activities such as talking on the phone or watching TV.
9. Hearing loss is common for people who spend a lot of time in noisy environments. Prone to hearing problems are construction and factory workers, car racers, riflemen, musicians, etc. To protect one’s hearing, proper measures should be taken, i.e. avoiding prolonged stays in noisy places and using earmuffs or earplugs where necessary.
10. Current research is focused primarily on stem cell therapy and finding a cure for hearing loss and regeneration of the sensitive hair cells that are responsible for hearing.