Hearing health statistics for Canada
were recently published from the Canadian Health Measures Study. These large scale cross Canada studies found that 18% of Canadians over 18 and 47% of Canadians age 60 and older suffer from at least a mild hearing loss in one ear. This is a much higher percentage than previously expected.
Perhaps even more surprising was that of the individuals who had hearing loss, nearly 70% of them were UNAWARE that they had trouble hearing. So, most people who have some hearing loss, do not realize it. WHY IS THIS? It’s important to remember that the most common type of hearing loss is gradual in nature. Hearing loss is due with the wear and tear of the outer hair cells in the inner ear. These tiny hair cells work all the time whether we are awake or asleep. They bend and respond to every sound that they pick up regardless of the type of sounds we hear. Over time, they simply wear out as we age. But they can also wear out due to loud noise exposure, which is why younger and younger people have hearing loss as well.
Since our hearing loss is usually gradual, it is often our friends and family members who will notice our hearing loss first. It can be hard for us to identify what we might be missing unless someone points it out. We may not realize when we hear something incorrectly, however it can be common to start to notice that the clarity of words is not there anymore and to feel as if people are mumbling. If this is the case, a hearing evaluation is recommended, especially after age 60. If you or your loved one has difficulty hearing, start the conversation about getting a hearing evaluation.