Published on April 17, 2024

Why Are Millennials Overlooking Hearing Loss?

The most recent studies show that as many as 1 billion young people are at risk of hearing loss. Among millennials, experts put that figure at around 10%, while Gen Z faces even worse prospects, with as many as 17% experiencing hearing loss to some degree. That’s more than many generations before. But, instead of making hearing tests a regular part of their routine, most young people seem to be running in the other direction.

For the majority, hearing health simply isn’t a consideration. For others, concerns around things like hearing aid stigmas are making treatment a no-go. In this article, we consider why millennials are overlooking hearing loss right now, and what needs to change to make them take it more seriously. 

# 1 – Social stigmas

A recent Forbes study has found that 63% of millennials believe there’s a hearing aid stigma, compared with just 41% of baby boomers. In large part, this is due to the visibility of older hearing aid models, and fears that hearing loss is linked solely to aging and disability. 

In reality, though, modern hearing aids are already working to break this stigma, whether it’s imagined or not. Increasingly subtle hearing aid designs, and the use of technology to make hearing aids more effective, should all appeal uniquely to millennial users. Those individuals simply need to consider hearing aids seriously to realize their potential benefits. 

# 2 – Misunderstanding risk factors

Many millennials and young people fail to act on hearing loss for the simple reason that they don’t believe it can apply to them. In large part, this goes back to an aging and hearing loss connection that, while undeniable, is by no means the only reason for hearing loss. 

In reality, hearing loss risk factors can range from noise exposure (which is especially prevalent amongst younger generations) to the use of certain medications, and more. Luckily, awareness of these issues is growing, with most devices now imposing volume limitations on headphone use, while noise exposure recommendations are in place for most live music venues. It’s simply down to young people to realize these shifting conversations and how they apply to their lifestyles. 

# 3 – A new breed of hearing loss

In many ways, millennials are overlooking hearing loss because this generational trend is a whole new issue. Previous generations simply haven’t dealt with things like headphones or the iPods that were so common during the millennial age. And, with no precedent for such large numbers of young people needing help, many millennials will ignore this issue even if they think they have hearing loss.

Unfortunately, this is a problem that only time will cure. As millennials reach their forties, audiologists are certainly seeing more millennial patients. Over time, that will hopefully lead to an escalating awareness amongst young people, and an increased focus on hearing health moving forward.

Millennials and Gen Z are at more risk of early hearing loss than any generation before them. It’s past time that they started paying attention to the problem! 

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