The Living Sounds Blog
Deaf by 30?
The new realities for hearing loss.
My mother used to harp on me all the time, â€śYouâ€™re going to be deaf before youâ€™re 30!â€ť I can still hear her. I figure I did pretty well, making it into my 50s before I had issues.
My grandfather had this metal box about 6 inches square, maybe a couple inches deep, that he would wear around his neck. It had a curling wire running out of it to a big, I can only guess uncomfortable, ear bud-like thing. It was horrible. I canâ€™t imagine the quality of sound was great, but it was what was available. Heâ€™d worked in a sawmill and he was deaf as a post, though I never really connected his job with his hearing loss until I started looking at my own hearing health.
I had no idea. Which is part of the reason I decided to partner with Living Sounds Hearing Centre to talk about hearing loss. Iâ€™ve been learning more and more as Iâ€™ve gone through the process of being treated and I regret not having my hearing checked sooner. I know there are a lot of men and women out there that are going through the same things as me, that arenâ€™t getting treated. I know how easy it is to think itâ€™s not really a big deal because youâ€™ve gotten so used to not hearing certain things that you forget what itâ€™s like to hear them.
Just the other day, I stopped to grab a coffee in the morning. When I walked out of the shop I noticed a couple of ladies having a conversation across the parking lot, maybe 50 metres away. I donâ€™t know if I normally would have even noticed them, but I did that morning. I thought, I can hear them! I never would have heard that before, the frequency of female voices, because thatâ€™s where my hearing loss is.
There are all these little things that make such a big difference to your life, itâ€™s so hard to describe. Before I started wearing hearing aids I never heard the floors creak or the birds outside. I had been missing so much and didnâ€™t even realize it.
1 in 8 people are suffering hearing loss â€“ thatâ€™s a World Health Organization statistic. That means over 4 million people in Canada â€“ 125,000 in the greater Edmonton area. And yet only 1 million people in Canada are treated for hearing loss. What does that mean? Only 25% of people with hearing loss are actually dealing with it? And the rest arenâ€™t? Thatâ€™s just crazy. Especially now that I understand that it really is so easy and it makes such a huge difference.
We all think you have to be old to be hard of hearing but we donâ€™t. One of many interesting thingsÂ I learned at the Third Ear course offered through Living Sounds HearingÂ Â is that 30 is the new 60 in terms of hearing loss. With all of the noise that younger generations are dealing with, they can expect that hearing loss will happen earlier. It just makes sense. A concert from my youth didnâ€™t have a fraction of the sound power of todayâ€™s live music events. Of course we are also recognizing, more and more, the things that cause hearing damage, like my grandfatherâ€™s job at the mill. Over half of all hearing loss is preventable. Itâ€™s worksite noise and hobbies and lifestyle.
The bottom line is no matter how you end up with hearing loss, you should be dealing with it. I canâ€™t stress enough how much of a difference it actually makes. I donâ€™t know why people donâ€™t deal with their hearing issues because I donâ€™t know why I didnâ€™t, but I think if people understood that it really does make such a huge difference they would get treatment.
It really was easy. People never know Iâ€™m wearing my hearing aids, but the difference to me is so significant. You miss something, you might think itâ€™s insignificant, but itâ€™s not.
I wish Iâ€™d done it sooner, Iâ€™m glad Iâ€™m dealing with it now.
See the stats and learn with me as I discuss theÂ issue of hearing loss.