Hearing loss is common in older people and so many young people do not think that it impacts them. Many think that they are simply too young to have hearing loss because it is for the old. This is wrong. Healthcare professionals are seeing hearing loss in people as young as 25 due to a variety of reasons, typically diabetes, exposure to loud noises and music, and high blood pressure caused by anxiety.
Table of Contents
Too Young To Have Hearing Loss
Although there is a strong correlation between age and hearing loss, young people experience it too. One study in Australia found that one out of every seven Australians has hearing loss and about half of them are people in the working age bracket. Of this, a significant percentage is people between the ages of 25 and 35. This statistic is alarming because these numbers were much lower just two decades ago and have been on the rise for some time.
Hearing loss can affect young people in different ways, and we are going to look at some of them below.
It Impacts One’s Ability to Get a Job
People with hearing loss are five times less likely to be employed than people who can hear well. Many employers assume that they will struggle with some of the tasks given to them, thus impacting their bottom lines. While it is illegal to discriminate against anyone due to their disability, some businesses do not want to spend the money, time, and resources it takes to accommodate people with hearing loss.
A Higher Risk of Depression and Cognitive Issues
We are already seeing high rates of depression due to various factors including social media and the environments young people are living in. Hearing loss adds to this already terrible situation by increasing the risk of depression in those who have hearing loss.
Hearing loss has also been associated with a higher risk of cognitive issues, with an increased risk of memory issues and cognitive decline. Hearing helps keep our brains active and engaged because we are always listening even when we are not conscious of it. As we do so, the sounds we hear activate different parts of our brains and this is what keeps them engaged and healthy.
People with hearing loss, especially complete hearing loss, become less reactive or completely unreactive to different sounds. This leads to less brain activation, decreased brain health, and a higher risk of cognitive issues.
It Impacts The People Around You
People with hearing loss do not realize they are not hearing as well as they used to in the past. They might start subconsciously asking people to repeat what they have just said, and this leads to fatigue in the people they regularly converse with. Friends might start pulling away because conversations start to feel like a chore instead of something they enjoy.
There are also lots of cases where romantic relationships have been put under a lot of strain due to hearing loss.
Once the person with hearing loss realizes this, they might also start pulling away as they do not want to be a burden and a bother. As they gradually do so, they become increasingly isolated and lonely, which then makes any mental health issues they have much worse.
It is Impairing Their Ability to Gather Information
Young people must constantly learn whether they are at school or at a new job. What some people have found is that they are unable to follow conversations or instructions and lose concentration easily. For this reason, they might think they are inattentive or have ADHD.
What they do not realize is that what they are experiencing as “brain fog” is actually “listening fatigue”. This is a phenomenon where people stop listening because it becomes too much work for them. It happens because people with hearing loss often catch small bits of information and their brains have to work hard to put it all together, so it makes sense. Their brain tunes out when it can no longer handle constantly doing this.
When it happens, a person with hearing loss will have difficulty gathering and understanding information, which can strain different aspects of their lives.
Fortunately, having a hearing test to determine the level of hearing loss as well as getting hearing aids can help with this. The first thing to do is to find a hearing health professional and set an appointment. You can find one at phonak.com/en-us/find-a-provider, where you can also set an appointment. You will be scheduled for a hearing test and, if required, sit down with a hearing aid specialist to discuss the next steps.
Hearing loss can impact a young person’s life in different ways. It can affect their ability to find a job and to do it once they find one, the people around them, and their mental health. It is, therefore, a good idea to get regular hearing tests, especially if you experience any symptoms of hearing loss.