Hearing Health: A Major Concern for the 21st Century
26 July 2019 (online)
The results of the most recent studies on Global Burden of Disease (GBD) indicate a growing and, now, alarming burden of hearing loss.
Researches involved in hearing loss are being targeted to provide detailed information that decision-makers need to position hearing loss among health care priorities; to present best practices for hearing health care; to indicate the many additional conditions of change for hearing healthcare around the world; and to offer recommendations to first stop the burden of hearing loss growth and then to reduce it.
One of the key drivers of economic vitality is an educated and healthy workforce. In addition, the proportions of jobs that depend on spoken communication or on high literacy, or on both, are high, and are growing rapidly worldwide.
The important points to consider are:
The absence or substantial attenuation of auditory input to the brain alters the connectivity and processing of the brain, especially before the age of 3 years old, and perhaps again after the age of 60 years old.
Children with severe or with a considerable degree of hearing loss have a lower literacy level than their listening peers, and their educational achievements are severely compromised.
Most adults with disabling hearing loss have a feeling of deep isolation and, typically, distance themselves from society, and even from family interactions.
Many people with hearing loss try to hide it, because it is commonly associated with aging and low intelligence. Stigma can prevent treatment and greatly reduce self-esteem.
Psychological illnesses are more prevalent in individuals with hearing loss than in the general population.
A growing number of significant associations have been demonstrated between hearing loss in older people (aged ≥ 60 years old) and several negative health outcomes, including associations between hearing loss and dementia.
- 1 Wilson BS, Tucci DL, Merson MH, O’Donoghue GM. Global hearing health care: new findings and perspectives. Lancet 2017; 390 (10111): 2503-2515 . Doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)31073-5
- 1 The Lancet. Prioritising prevention of hearing loss. Lancet 2019; 393 (10174): 848 . Doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(19)30403-9
- 2 Wilson BS, Tucci DL, O’Donoghue GM, Merson MH, Frankish H. A Lancet Commission to address the global burden of hearing loss. Lancet 2019; S0140-6736 (19) 30484-2