Over 70% of Australians aged 70+ experience hearing loss. It is one of the most common long-term conditions associated with ageing. Yet hearing loss is often under-diagnosed and under-treated.
Most people don’t realise the considerable impacts of hearing loss, or that it is linked with serious conditions, including anxiety, depression and dementia.
Untreated hearing loss is associated with:
- lower levels of social engagement
- increased risk of social isolation
- poorer mental wellbeing
- reduced spatial awareness, balance problems and increased falls risk.
Studies have shown that hearing loss can significantly increase the risk of developing dementia – the greater the hearing loss, the greater the risk. For people already diagnosed with dementia, untreated hearing loss (and other sensory impairments) can exacerbate challenges of daily living.
Hearing loss accounts for 8% of the risk for developing dementia” said Professor Brodaty from the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA).
But wearing hearing aids can reduce your risk. The earlier people start using hearing aids, the more likely they are to continue using them and to derive the benefits.”
There have been considerable advances in hearing aid technology over the past five years. Digital hearing aids are effective at filtering out background noise and work with Bluetooth technology.
Symptoms of hearing loss
First signs of hearing loss include:
- Difficulty hearing in noisy places and hearing conversations
- Difficulty understanding people, especially if they are wearing a mask or not facing you
- Often needing to ask people to repeat themselves
- Hearing muffled sounds, as though people are mumbling
- Turning the TV up louder than other people
- Missing your phone/doorbell ringing
- Not hearing high pitched sounds like the beep of a thermometer
- Constant buzzing or ringing in your ears
- Increased discomfort with loud noises.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, book in to see your GP or an audiologist. Get your hearing checked now so you can move forward with dementia.
For more information
- Check the Australian Government’s hearing services program to see if you are eligible for subsidised hearing services and devices.
- Read more about hearing and dementia on this PDF download from Dementia Australia.
- Read more about risk factors for dementia on the article on this website: 1.9 Your family’s risk of dementia