Hear What You May Be Missing
Prevention and Treatment It’s estimated that approximately 70 percent of Canadian adults with hearing loss are unaware they have it. It is quickly becoming an invisible disability.
You may not realize you have hearing loss. Maybe people just mumble, or you think to yourself, “Nobody can hear in this noisy place.” Hearing is not like vision, which is often correctable with glasses, contacts, or surgery. Once it’s corrected, you can see fine wherever you are. Hearing is different because you may be hearing well in a quiet room, whereas your favourite restaurant may be too noisy and may have become a source of auditory frustration and a place you no longer want to visit.
Hearing loss is considered one of the many invisible disabilities. It affects people of all ages: babies are not able to tell anyone they were born with hearing loss during the important period of language learning, while adults who have had good hearing all their lives often experience a gradual decrease in hearing without even noticing. For both groups, the experience of hearing loss will go unnoticed unless properly identified.
Untreated hearing loss can have serious consequences for people of all ages: infants need hearing in order to learn to talk, and adults need hearing to be productive and social so that cognitive decline and depression do not arise. In both cases, they don’t know what they’ve been missing — and they won’t — until hearing health care becomes part of their routine.
Time to prioritize hearing
Our health is regarded as an important factor in promoting general physical and mental well-being. In 1980, smallpox was eradicated worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared this the first time in human history that a disease was completely eliminated through deliberate health care diagnoses and interventions. The WHO’s World Hearing Day, which is an annual advocacy event, described the economic impact of ignoring hearing loss in this year’s campaign. Interventions to address hearing loss are cost-effective; unaddressed hearing loss comes at a high cost of $750 billion.
People with untreated hearing loss experience barriers in school, work and social relationships, which can have a negative impact on cognitive and mental health. The same may be true for other untreated conditions such as vision loss, diabetes, or heart disease. So why not include hearing health care activities as a routine part of your overall plan for well-being?
It’s estimated that approximately 70 percent of Canadian adults with hearing loss are unaware they have it. Not knowing about the existence of or how to handle an invisible disability can make it challenging to participate in daily activities and social relationships, and can lead to feelings of isolation. This means that advocacy, awareness, and a commitment to consider hearing part of your overall health check are all important aspects in getting hearing on the radar of Canadians’ health care routines.
Hearing health care
Hearing is a sense that should be cared for and managed. Cost-effective treatments are available from trained professionals. Age-related hearing loss is natural, so including hearing check-ups in your health care routine should be as well. Every one to two years, visit an audiologist for a complete assessment.
If you have normal hearing, wonderful! Show off your hearing skills by turning the volume down on the radio and participating easily in the conversations you enjoy. If you need a little extra support, an audiologist can provide the expertise to help you in a variety of ways. From education about caring for your hearing to specific devices that can be used to help you hear the softest sounds you may be missing, you can be empowered to care for your sense of hearing for years to come. Embarking on a hearing health care routine may mean that you’ll never have to wonder what sounds you’ve been missing.