My generation is aging– that’s those of us born after the second world war, between 1946 and 1964. We’re called the baby boomers because once the soldiers returned from the war, family life returned to normal and the number of babies born was higher than it had been for some decades. In this period in the USA there were about 76 million babies born, 8 million in Canada and more than 4 million in Australia. Most other countries saw similar ‘bulges’ in births in the same time period.
So now, 60 years later, we’re all hitting our autumn years and this is causing major stress on much of the aged care infrastructure.
Baby boomers were instrumental in creating change, especially in the ‘60’s and one stand out difference was in noise levels. There were record players, transistor radios, television and, due to the ease of air travel, bands and entertainers travelled the world. Add industry, cars, aeroplanes and baby boomers were subjected to a cacophony of noise unlike any of their ancestors.
What does this mean for our hearing health? Hearing loss has long been associated with aging but according to InsuranceNet there is a huge increase in the number of people requiring hearing aids. The reason is twofold – the large number of baby boomers reaching the ‘aged’ status and when coupled with the exposure they had to noise more people are experiencing hearing loss, right through from modest to profound.
This is producing a boost for the hearing aid providers. Look in almost any newspaper or magazine and you’ll find large adverts for hearing tests and hearing aids plus we find at least one glossy advert a month about hearing aids in our letterbox.
The number of senior people is at “historic highs” and around 18% of those up to 64 are reporting some level of hearing loss, but it gets worse from then on with close to half having a hearing loss.
I find it sad that so many people will suffer because of hearing loss as they age. At a time when they are likely to become isolated from their communities and families due to a loss of mobility, at the same time they are becoming isolated because to their hearing loss.
The upside in all of this is that there are many new technologies which can help improve communication – the internet and email, SMS, captioned phones or video phone calls such as Skype, captioned movies, television and even radio. Hearing aids are far more sophisticated and can be programmed to specific requirements, improving the hearing ability far beyond anything I experienced when I went deaf. And of course Baha and Cochlear Implants for those of us who cannot be helped with hearing aids.
At a time when we can relax a little more and enjoy our lives, hearing health is extremely important. Look after it, find help and experience better communication.
Reference: Boomers Crossing into Golden Years are a Boon for Hearing aid industry http://insurancenewsnet.com/article.aspx?id=343948