Generation Hearing Loss
More and more people lose their hearing and hearing loss happens more and more at young ages. A major reason for the disturbing increase in the number of hearing impaired people at all ages is exposure to noise.
Sweden has seen a 40 percent increase in hearing impairment in less than 15 years. Italian doctors warn of a sharp increase in the number of people with hearing loss. They expect that by 2010, one Italian in three will be hearing impaired. Professor Adrian Davis of the British MRC Institute for Hearing Research estimates that the total number of people suffering from hearing loss of more than 25 dB will exceed 700 million by 2015.
- Our modern lifestyle is taking its toll on our hearing. We don’t feel it, at first, because hearing loss rarely happens from one day to the next, but soon we will have a new generation in need of hearing aids at young ages unless we take better care of our hearing, said Kim Ruberg, Secretary General of Hear-it AISBL, an international non-commercial organization.
Currently, 16 percent of the adult European population suffers from hearing loss great enough to adversely affect their daily life. About 71 million Europeans aged 18 to 80 years have a hearing loss greater than 25 dB, the definition of hearing impairment recognised by the World Health Organisation, WHO. In Australia one in six over the age of 15 suffers from hearing loss, corresponding to the levels recorded in Europe. Two decades ago just 10 percent, or one in ten, had a hearing loss.
In the United States and Canada 35 million suffer from hearing loss. Hearing loss is the third most widespread chronic affliction in the United States, surpassed only by arthritis and hypertension. According to US projections, the number of Americans with hearing loss will surpass 40 million by 2025 and reach almost 53 million by 2050.
Data from Sweden indicate that the share of hearing impaired Swedes under the age of 65 years has increased much more than generally anticipated. In the adult population, aged 16 to 84 years, 63 percent, or almost two in three of those with hearing loss are of working age.
One of the major reasons for the increase in the number of hearing impaired is exposure to noise. We work in noisy workplaces, we use power tools, lawnmowers, negotiate noisy traffic, listen to loud music and go out to noisy restaurants, night clubs or sports events. The increasing use of portable MP3 players and iPods is particularly troubling. They are capable of delivering high sound levels and the users risk exposing their ears to highly excessive dB levels. The popular personal stereos cause hearing damage in high numbers of listeners, especially among young people.
Source: www.hear-it.org. Hear-it AISBL is an international non-profit and non-commercial organisation. The objective of Hear-it AISBL is to collect, process and circulate relevant information pertaining to hearing impairments and their human and socio-economic consequences.
Further information: Secretary General, Mr. Kim Ruberg, +45 40 300 500, e-mail: email@example.com