According to a recent paper published in the journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery on March 2nd, almost 50 percent more American adults will lose their hearing in several decades’ time. The health experts said hearing loss is expected to increase in adults older than 20 from 44 million in 2020 to 73.5 million by 2060. In percentage points, this would mean 23 percent more Americans will go deaf by 2060, compared to 15 percent adults expected to experience severe hearing issues in 2020.
Researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore say that the increase will be most noticeable among older adults. According to the health experts’ calculations, 55 percent of the adults that are supposedly going to lose their hearing in 2020 will be roughly 70 years old. in contrast, these rates will jump to 67 percent four decades later, predict the researchers.
Hence, lead author of the study and a fellow researcher at Hopkins’ Center said there will need to be a much greater focus on easy access to hearing health care services and affordable interventions in the future.
Health experts, including American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s chief staff officer, Neil DiSarno, say they have been deeply troubled by the recent findings. Even more so, as professional hearing care is equally costly compared to all aspects of health care, they said.
Hearing Loss and Mental Ability Decline
Moreover, the researchers discovered hearing loss is directly linked to a decrease in mental abilities, said the head of otology of New York Lenox Hill Hospital’s Center for Hearing and Balance Disorders at the New York Head and Neck Institute.
However, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Otolaryngology, head and Neck Surgery, Dr. Debara Tucci, said aging American adults are not necessarily doomed to lose their hearing forever. As is the case with most conditions, hearing loss can also be prevented, she said.
This is possible by avoiding prolonged exposure to loud noises. Furthermore, she urges the population to take precautionary measures early, as hearing loss occurs over time and early signs are extremely subtle. Hence, those at risk can one day lose their hearing for good, an irreversible change, the spokesperson added.
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