16 May Hearing through the Ages – Baby Boomers!
This week, we will be discussing the hearing needs of the Baby Boomer generation. ”Baby Boomer” is a term used to describe people born during 1946 to 1964, coinciding with the baby boom following World War II. Each post this week will highlight a new topic in hearing health that is important for baby boomers to consider.
Importance of Early Detection of Hearing Loss
When we think of hearing loss, we often conjure up an image of a grandparent straining to hear us and cupping a hand over one ear and shouting “What did you say?”. However, this is an inaccurate portrayal of hearing loss in today’s society, as hearing loss is no longer an affliction of seniors but of younger generations too.
“Hearing loss, especially age-related hearing loss, is thought to be something that naturally happens as you grow older, people thinking older meaning 70-, 80-plus,” says Richard Bowring, senior manager of programs for the Hearing Foundation of Canada. “Now, baby boomers who are 40 and 50 are thinking, ‘Well, I don’t feel old. I don’t look old. Therefore these things that happen to old people shouldn’t be happening to me until I’m 80 or 90,’ ” says Mr. Bowring. “So they don’t want to admit that they have a hearing loss.”
“What has happened is that with baby boomers doing the whole rock ‘n’ roll generation thing and going to concerts and doing all the loud things they love to do, they have progressively damaged the hair cells in the cochlea, so that the hair cells have died earlier,” Mr. Bowring says.
“So they are getting the hearing loss earlier and earlier. And in fact, it has been documented that the age shift for that has dropped around 20 years, so around the 40-year-old mark.” This is why routine hearing testing has been recommended following age 40.
Early Detection is Key with Hearing Loss. Here’s why!:
1) We need to determine what is causing your hearing to decline in order to prevent (if possible), further deterioration.
2) Some hearing losses are medically treatable. We need to get you started in that process as early as possible to maximize outcomes.
3) Anyone with occupational noise exposure should apply for coverage prior to retirement.
4) Early adoption of hearing aids for those living with hearing loss leads to a higher satisfaction rate with their hearing aids, and an easier road to becoming adapted to hearing again with the hearing devices. The earlier we re-introduce the brain to the sounds its been missing, the easier it is for the brain to remember how to process them.
5) Untreated hearing loss can lead to decreased earning potential at work (more to come next post!)