Baby boomers, or those born between 1946 and 1964, are the largest group experiencing hearing loss today. In fact, one in six baby boomers currently has some degree of hearing loss. Although a growing number of boomers are living with hearing loss, only about 25 percent are proactively seeking help.
Baby boomers make up about one-third of the workforce today, and even though many are starting to reach retirement age, most—whether by choice or otherwise—are opting to forego retirement altogether. Unfortunately, as many Americans are continuing to work well into their mid- to late 60s, less-than-ideal work environments may have an impact on how well we hear. Because our ears are exposed to loud noises every day, constant exposure can weaken our hearing over time. That means aging and hearing loss go hand-in-hand when it comes to work-related hearing loss. The more time you spend in a workplace with potentially dangerous noise levels, the greater your chances of hearing loss as you age.
Our daily lives are full of noise. From the moment our alarms buzz in the morning to the seconds before we fall asleep, our ears are constantly exposed to a world of sound. Unfortunately, some sounds are more harmful than others. Of the three main types of hearing loss, noise-induced is the most common. More than a third of all cases of hearing loss are attributed to noise, and baby boomers are the ones who are experiencing noise-induced hearing loss the most.
It’s important to acknowledge the warning signs of hearing loss and take action as soon as possible. Because only a small fraction of physicians screen for hearing loss during physicals, signs of loss may be present even if a doctor fails to recognize it. If you’ve found others complaining about your hearing, or if you’re finding it harder to follow social conversations, it may be time to get your hearing checked.
One of the main reasons so many baby boomers are neglecting to seek treatment is because of the stigma of hearing aids. In the past, hearing aids were big, bulky and awkward. However, thanks to advances in digital technology, hearing aids today are revolutionizing the way people hear. There are smaller, more discreet hearing aid options with a variety of different features. Best of all, 90 percent of people who use hearing aids have been found to improve their overall quality of life.
The Better Hearing Institute estimates nearly 48 million Americans are currently living with hearing loss. And as the baby boomers age, hearing loss statistics will most likely increase. If you or someone you know has hearing loss, encourage them to seek help. Regardless of whether the hearing loss is mild, moderate or severe, seeking treatment sooner will help treat the problem before it gets worse.