Hearing loss isn’t something you’d typically think about unless you’re experiencing it or someone close to you does. After all, hearing is something that’s always come naturally to you, so the sudden inability to hear “normally” may make you wonder what the future has in store for you. With that in mind, here are some facts about hearing loss that you might not have known. Please keep in mind that if you’re concerned about your hearing, your first port of call should always be an audiologist.

Hearing loss is more common than you think

According to the World Health Organization, one in every three adults over the age of 65 – a total of 165 million people globally – experience hearing loss. As a result, hearing loss is the world’s second most common problem.

It has the potential to enhance your risk of cognitive impairment

Living with even a minor degree of hearing loss increases your chances of developing cognitive impairment by a factor of two. The greater the severity of the case, the bigger the risk. Getting treatment sooner rather than later will increase your chances of a successful outcome.

In many cases, noise is the culprit

According to the Personal Health Blog of the New York Times, noise is the biggest cause of hearing loss. Loud noises (over 85dBs), such as those produced by city traffic, can permanently damage the ear’s hearing if repeatedly exposed to.

It is common for damaged hair cells to be the starting point

Hearing loss caused by aging is frequently the consequence of damage to cilia, which are hair cells situated in the cochlea section of the ear. Early on, the outer part of the cochlea, which is in charge of high-frequency sounds like those from consonants such as “f,” “sh,” “p,” “s” and “t,” is most likely to get damaged.

Even when we are asleep, we are listening to the world around us

Unlike our eyes, our ears remain awake, ready to alert us to situations that require our attention. In today’s world, we continue to rely on our ears to alert us to danger and to wake us up in the morning.

Other disorders are associated with hearing loss

According to studies conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, having hearing loss increases your chance of having a stroke by 30% and your risk of having a heart attack by 36%. To ensure hearing loss doesn’t impact your wellbeing, relationships and other aspects of your life, make sure you get tested by an audiologist. They will be able to inform you on the severity of your condition, as well as recommend the best treatments to help you better communicate with others around you.