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Why Do So Many People Get Hearing Loss?

As time goes by and technology improves, you’d expect fewer and fewer people to get hearing loss, but this isn’t the case. The latest estimates suggest that some 50 million people in the US have the condition, and the number keeps rising. 

Hearing loss is a significant problem for the people who get it. Not only can it hamper their performance and work and put them in physical danger out on the road, but it can disrupt their entire lives. Hearing loss, for instance, often leads to social isolation because people find it too difficult to interact with others. They eventually retreat into their homes and shirk their social engagements. 

Why do we see an explosion in hearing loss? Why is there such a need for adult hearing aids? Let’s take a look. 

The Rise Of Clubs, Concerts, and Bars

While you might not think it, the modern world exposes people to more loud music than at any time in history. Traditionally, people were rarely exposed to loud noises that persisted for long periods.

There was no such thing as loudspeakers or electric guitars. The most deafening noise that most people would have heard in their lives was the clap of lightning as it struck the ground. 

Today, though, that’s all changed. You can walk into any club or bar in the country and immediately be subjected to more noise than our ears evolved to process.

That’s the problem. The world is just too loud. When high-energy sound waves hit the eardrum, they damage the tiny sound-sensing hairs that line the middle ear, causing them to lose function over time. The more loud music you listen to, the worse your hearing becomes. 

Playing Music Through Earphones

Pixabay – CC0 License

This reason for the explosion in hearing loss relates to the previous one – it just takes a slightly different form. 

Earphones are a popular way to listen to music in public. They’re discreet, portable, and flexible, working with today’s modern mobile devices. Health authorities around the world put suggested limits on the volume you should pump through these, but relatively few people actually pay much attention to this. They’d prefer to listen to music at a high volume. 

This habit creates a similar set of issues as going to loud clubs or concerts. You wind up damaging the machinery in the ear over time, reducing their ability to hear. 

The Rise Of Airport Traffic

Jet engines are one of the loudest objects in the world, churning out more than 140 decibels in operation – 50 higher than the safe limit for the human ear. 

People who work around planes, therefore, often have higher rates of hearing loss than the general population. Baggage handling workers are at particular risk because of how close they get to the aircraft on a daily basis. They must wear ear protection, such as earmuffs. 

More people than ever are getting hearing loss. Partly it is to do with the aging population, but the modern sound environment undoubtedly plays a role.

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