Hearing loss crosses all age groups. We’ve gone over hearing loss among older adults, and the risks associated with hearing loss as you age.
It’s important to raise awareness that more and more young adults are experiencing hearing loss for a number of different reasons. Young adults who have hearing loss face a unique set of challenges as they go through college, dating, employment, growing relationships, and parenting.
How prevalent is Hearing Loss in Young Adults?
According to the CDC, around 12% of adults between the ages of 18-39 report struggling with following along during conversations when there is too much background noise. Nearly 6% have tinnitus. These numbers are higher in older age groups.
People who have hearing loss are more likely to experience low rates of employment, lower work productivity, and higher healthcare costs compared to their peers.
Causes of Hearing Loss for Young Adults
Noise exposure is one of the most widespread causes of hearing loss for young adults, as well as older adults. This can lead to noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). Across the U.S. millions of Gen Xers, millennials, and Gen Y have been exposed to hazardous levels of noise, including hobbies like woodworking, music, city noises, and workplace environments.
Additional risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, taking ototoxic medications, viruses, bacterial infections, genetics, or they were born with it.
Young Adults with Otosclerosis
Otosclerosis is one of the other most common medical causes of hearing loss in people of this age group and middle-aged adults. This is when there is abnormal bone growth in the middle ear section. Nearly 3 million Americans are affected by it - the people with the highest risk being middle-aged women.
The Affect of Hearing Loss on Young Adults
The different causes of hearing loss for young adults differ greatly from the older generation but wearing hearing aids when you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s can look and feel different than wearing them when you are older. Occupation, family, relationships, and activities are - for the most part - different than older people.
Working with hearing loss, while NOT impossible, can be tricky at times. People in their 20s are fresh out of college and looking for their first job. They have the choice of when they should inform their potential employer that they wear hearing aids. Depending on where your job path takes you, you may need special equipment - like a telephone with amplification or captions. Your employer is required by law, via the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), to accommodate you for your hearing needs. You can apply for any job that you want, but there are some careers that may be easier to navigate through if you have hearing loss. Take a look at our article “Careers for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing”.
Working Remotely with Hearing Loss
If you have hearing loss, depending on the job, working from home can have its ups and downs. You can raise the volume on your computer as much as you want, without bothering coworkers. The technology for virtual meetings doesn’t always work smoothly, so it can hamper communication. Read up on some tips on how to prepare for video conferences or virtual meetings.
Parents or Guardians Raising Children and Young Adults
Taking care of a child as a hearing aid user has its challenges. Hearing aids are needed for better communication and safety, but using them requires consideration from those who are communicating with the hearing aid users. A parent may need a baby monitor that flashes, vibrates, and has a video monitor. Making sure your hearing aids are always in good condition is also important, especially if there’s a sudden emergency.
Attending College or Higher Education
Another concern that differs among generations is that young adults are deciding whether to attend college or higher education. People in this age group might not receive the support that is needed to thrive in school. Young adults may be learning how to be their own advocates for the first time.
Hearing Aids can help You Maintain or even Raise Your Income and Improve Overall Health
The ability to hear in a work environment can impact your household income, which is a common concern for people who are in their prime age of employment. According to a survey that was done through Better Hearing Institute 40,000 households in the U.S. indicated that using hearing aids and assistive listening devices was beneficial to one’s earning potential. There was also a 90 to 100 percent reduced risk of income loss for anyone with mild hearing loss, and a 65 to 77 percent reduced risk for anyone with moderate to severe hearing loss.
Hearing aid usage has a more obvious asset to mental health for younger people. A study from 2014 indicated that hearing loss is linked to depression in adults of every age, but it's more common in young adults. Even though hearing aids help people of all ages, younger users appear to gain the most out of them when it comes to depression. Socializing leads to a healthy overall quality of life.
Hearing Aid usage is becoming Less Stigmatized
In regards to hearing aid usage, there are major distinctions between the older generation and the younger generation. Most people of the younger generation are more accepting of wearing hearing aids. Today, just about everyone wears something in their ears, whether they are earbuds, headphones, or hearing aids; therefore hearing devices draw less attention. The stigma of hearing aid usage is dwindling and the younger generation is noticing that their untreated hearing loss is more noticeable than the hearing aids themselves.
If you are a young adult or middle-aged with hearing loss, you have the chance to seek treatment and engage in practices that protect and slow down the hearing abilities that you still have.
For a complimentary hearing test and consultation, contact us at Pure Sound Hearing to set up an appointment.