Hearing loss is one of the most common disabilities in Canada. That may surprise many. The fact is, not only do most people not realize how common hearing loss is, most people with hearing loss don’t even realize they have it. Here are seven things Canadians need to know about hearing loss.
Forty Percent of Adults in Canada Have Some Hearing Loss . . .
Nearly half of adult Canadians have measurable hearing loss. If that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is. According to the 2012 - 2015 Canadian Health Measures Survey, 40% of Canadian adults ages 20 - 79 have some hearing loss. In general, those adults tend to be older and male.
. . . And Most Have No Idea
Hearing loss is not only common; it's frequently undiagnosed. Seventy-seven percent of adults with hearing loss in the above-mentioned survey didn’t report hearing problems to their healthcare professionals.
Kids Suffer Hearing Loss Too
About 8% of children (ages 5 and over) in Canada have hearing loss.
And Kids Frequently Don’t Know They Have Hearing Loss
It can be tough to recognize hearing loss in a kid. Parents might think that their kids just don't listen very carefully, and kids might not realize that they’re not hearing everything. 95% of children, ages 6 - 11 with hearing loss don’t report this to their doctors, and in teenagers (ages 12 - 19), it falls slightly to 86%.
With these stats, it’s easy to see why hearing loss might be hard to spot. What may just be a kid abusing the TV’s volume button could be normal, albeit irritating behaviour, or it could be a sign of hearing loss.
Lots of Canadians Work in Noisy Environments
What's a noisy environment? If you need to speak in a raised voice to communicate with someone an arm's length away, that's a noisy environment. Forty-two percent of Canadians have worked–or currently work–in a noisy environment, but of those people, only 24% have always used hearing protection. A surprising 41% never did.
Lots of Canadians Listen to Loud Music Through Earbuds
Using earbuds or headphones to listen to music is a pretty common experience, but about one-third of Canadians regularly listen at a volume higher than three-quarters of the maximum. Can earbuds damage hearing? Indeed, especially when the volume is set to the highest levels. If you feel ringing or buzzing in your ears after you pull your earbuds out, your music is too loud, even if it goes away quickly.
Signs of Hearing Loss Aren’t Necessarily Obvious
If hearing loss was easy to spot, it wouldn’t be so frequently undiagnosed. So, what are some of the signs that fly under the radar?
• Asking for words to be repeated
• Turning music, TV, or phone up louder than necessary
• Speaking louder than necessary when talking to someone
• Favouring one ear over the other
• Other people always seem to be mumbling
• Ringing in the ear
If any of these describe you or a family member, take a hearing test today to better understand hearing health.