With this month marking Hearing Awareness Week, the “Ear and hearing care for all! Let’s make it a reality” campaign for 2023, carries with it a strong message when it comes to hearing loss and care. With the right support, hearing disabilities are easily managed while still being able to enjoy a great quality of life.
Hearing loss is more common than you might think and over time, is predominantly caused by loud noise, aging, disease and genetics. To give you an idea, a staggering 3.5 million1 Australians aged 15 years and over, have mild to severe hearing issues. This represents 22% of the population, which means on average, one in six Australians has a hearing disability.
About one-third of older adults suffer hearing loss, something that increases with age, and people affected by hearing loss often find it difficult to have conversations with friends and family. They may also have trouble understanding a doctor’s advice, responding to warnings or hearing doorbells and alarms. Often times, people don’t want to admit that they are losing their hearing our out of fear and embarrassment, but it is important to understand, that if ignored or untreated, can become progressively worse, with studies showing a strong link to many health conditions including depression, anxiety and even heart disease. That said, you may also be surprised to know that older adults with a hearing loss are also more likely to develop dementia.
Studies over the years have shown that hearing loss can increase the risk of developing dementia by up to five times and the greater the hearing loss, the greater the risk. A decline in memory and thinking capabilities happens up to 40 per cent faster in those with a hearing loss, compared to those without. Why? One link is thought to be the strain that hearing loss exerts on the brain. Our hearing communicates sounds to the brain and if those sounds don’t make sense, the brain receives messages that are unclear, and in turn, has to work harder to understand them. The brain then becomes overworked as a result and over time, our working memory becomes weakened and depleted – the risk of dementia setting in is heightened.
At Home Care Assistance, we offer an hourly to 24-hour home care service, providing older adults with full-time, around-the-clock care. Those living with dementia or who are homebound due to physical limitations, benefit greatly from additional care and support, and families can enjoy peace of mind knowing that Care Workers are diligently monitoring their loved one’s safety, attending to their daily needs and providing compassionate companionship.
The studies linking hearing loss and dementia, getting your hearing tested on the regular is essential to your overall health and wellbeing, and should not be ignored. Deafness is one of the most common disabilities worldwide. The number of Australians with deafness is expected to increase to 1 in 4 by 2050. Identifying the signs of hearing loss may not always be easy, but the most common symptoms are:
- Difficulty in following conversations when two or more people are talking
- Asking people to repeat what they are saying
- A need to turn up the TV or radio volume so loud that others complain
- Being unable to understand what’s being said because of background noise.
The social impact of hearing loss can have a domino effect on every aspect of our lives and people with hearing impairment can experience embarrassment, loss of confidence, irritability and anger, depression, social isolation, co-dependence on others and tiredness.
By the same token, others including family and friends inadvertently add to the problem by talking for the other person, continually interrupting, get frustrated quickly or becoming embarrassed in company. They may also find they have to sacrifice activities such as parties or the theatre – all of which have a direct bearing on social interactions by putting a real strain on relationships.
Hearing aids can make the world of difference, which is where Hearing Awareness Week plays such a pivotal role, giving hearing loss a platform and highlighting that help is available through regular testing and care. The use of hearing aids has led to life-changing results for many affected with hearing issues worldwide, as well as special training, medication and surgery. Help is available.
If you or someone you know may be experiencing hearing loss, ignoring the problem and leaving it untreated, can lead to more serious health issues further down the line. So, get yourselves tested today and take positive steps to receiving the life-changing help you need!
Support of an in-home care agency like Home Care Assistance, can bring enormous benefit and comfort to your quality of life while living independently at home. Home Care Assistance has viable solutions when it comes to supporting independent living. For more information, get in touch with a Home Care Assistance near me today.
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As a leading age care provider, Home Care Assistance offers tailored in-home care services for older Australians, enabling them to live happier and healthier lives in the comfort of their own homes.
We offer private and government subsidised Care Packages and have office locations that are a registered NDIS provider. Our Care Workers undergo extensive training in order to deliver unmatched in-home aged care services where people can continue ageing in place. We are proud ambassadors of the My Aged Care government funded aged care program, enabling Australians to successfully navigate the process and gain approval for in-home care support packages. Home Care Assistance offers hourly care, specialised care, Alzheimer’s and Dementia care, hospital to home care, and 24 hour in home care.