Melody Teh


Take the first steps towards better hearing

Take the first steps towards better hearing

The sensational 60s are a time of endless possibilities. The world of work is winding down (or already consigned to the past) and the world of travel, adventure, hobbies and a social life full of endless possibilities beckons. Unless, of course, health issues such as hearing loss intervene.

Suddenly, or sometimes not so suddenly, the plans you've made have to take a back seat again. But this time it isn't the boss, the kids or the business getting in the way of a good time, it's the inability to hear fellow team members as you play sport, or not understanding what your fellow diners are talking about. Phone conversations become hard work rather than a source of pleasure and the voices of little ones are inaudible or unintelligible.

These can all be symptoms of significant hearing loss and while such social limitations are upsetting, there are even greater concerns. Recent studies suggest hearing problems can be associated with other health conditions including diabetes, stroke, depression, elevated blood pressure and heart attack. Hearing loss also affects communication, and there are studies that highlight a link between hearing loss and dementia.

Almost 116,000 Australians aged 45 and over are estimated to be at risk of severe to profound hearing loss – but just three per cent receive treatment. The reluctance to look after our hearing is a major concern and Australians need to take action by adding a visit to an audiologist to their annual list of medical checkups.

There's no need to panic

“The good news is that you don’t have to suffer in silence. Hearing loss is debilitating and can lead to feelings of social isolation, but there are solutions available, even if your hearing aids are no longer effective,” says leading Ear Nose and Throat Surgeon, Associate Professor Catherine Birman, Medical Director of SCIC Cochlear Implant Program, an RIDBC service.

“The ability to hear clearly is essential to maintaining a good quality lifestyle and enjoyment, and your overall health. People need to be aware of how important it is to maintain healthy hearing, so they can continue to interact with the things and people they love and so they can reach their full potential,” she adds.

“Hearing loss in the elderly magnifies the negative impact of the mental ageing process. Even a small loss can see people withdrawing from society as social situations become too hard and too embarrassing to be a part of.”

Take the first steps towards better hearing

Identifying a hearing problem is the first step towards finding a long-term solution, and getting a hearing test is your first step to better hearing. It’s as simple as making an appointment with an audiologist for a hearing test.

And if you do have a hearing problem, there is a vast range of technological options available that can help people to hear better, including hearing aids and hearing implant solutions.

Some people worry that getting a cochlear implant may be expensive. However, the overall cost is made up of a number of different components, some of which may be covered under private health insurance or through the public system. You can talk to your hearing care professional about your funding options.

The most important thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter how old you are or how severe your hearing loss is, it’s never too late to seek a solution.

If you or a loved one are seeking solutions to regain your hearing and reconnect with life, visit Cochlear to get free hints and tips for better hearing.

Related links: 

Can you trust your ears?

Is your dizziness caused by ear problems?

10 commandments the hard of hearing wish you’d follow