Healthy Hearing is Important Part of Ageing Well
At Active Audiology, we see people of all ages, including a large number over the age of 65. We understand that healthy hearing means being able to enjoy conversation, to get the punchline of a joke, and stay connected with friends and family. We know that as we age, hearing loss becomes more common. A recent Australian report found that around 60% of men and 50% of women between 60-69 have a hearing loss (HCIA, 2017). With hearing loss being so common, its effects so life changing, why is it so often ignored and swept under the carpet? It is important to pay attention to your hearing and make healthy hearing a priority. At Active Audiology, we believe taking care of your hearing is an important part of ‘ageing well’.
Why are so Many People in Denial about their Hearing Loss?
Many people think that since hearing loss is so common, you should just put up with it. Unfortunately, many people think that hearing aids are only for ‘old people’ and to be avoided until you really ‘have to’ have them. These ideas are as outdated as black and white TV and turntables! Just as ageing has changed, so to have hearing aids. Age is no longer a barrier to living an active life including exercise, travel and socialising. So why should you put up with a hearing loss?
The truth is that modern technology has made hearing aids as advanced as a smart phone, They are small, discrete and comfortable. They are designed to be agile and to shape the sound to any environment you find yourself in. From cocktail parties to TV, they can analyse the incoming sound and help you to hear better. The sooner you take action, the better the outcome for you.
Why Should You Pay Attention to Your Hearing Loss?
With over 14 years of experience as an Audiologist, I can tell you that the sooner you take care of your hearing, the better. Our hearing involves both our ears and our brain. Think of this pathway as a road through a country town. If there are no cars for many years, the road may become covered with weeds and too hard to drive down. However, if there are cars passing through regularly, the road will stay clear. The scientific term for this effect is auditory deprivation.
When our auditory system is deprived of sound, the parts of the brain used for hearing start to shrink and weaken. A recent study used MRI technology to show this shrinking in the auditory centres of the brain over time in people with hearing loss compared to people with normal hearing (Lin FR, 2014). Once auditory deprivation has occurred, it can be much more difficult to adapt to hearing aids.
So keep sound traveling down that road! This means wearing hearing aids as early as recommended and exposing yourself to a variety of sounds. This includes listening to music, socialising in noisy environments and attending meetings and lectures.
How Can you Make Healthy Hearing a Priority in your Life?
Step 1 of course is prevention. Protect your ears from loud noises to preserve your hearing. This means turning down the volume and using ear muffs when using power tools or mowing the lawn.
Step 2 is to have your hearing checked regularly, just as you check your blood pressure and cholesterol. This will allow you to monitor your hearing and be aware when action is needed.
Step 3 is to take action when recommended by an Audiologist. Research the technology and strategies available so you can make an informed decision about what is best for your lifestyle. Remember that it is better to use the amazing treatments available than put up with hearing loss. At Active Audiology, we have many years of experience and can advise you no matter what stage you are at. We can assess your hearing and explain the results, we can counsel you on the best ways to protect and improve your hearing. We have several clinics around Melbourne and we are waiting to help you.