Your Hearing Matters
Approximately 3.6 million Australians have a hearing loss. Of this, Australian data shows that 1.3 million of these cases could have been prevented (Commonwealth of Australia, 2021).
We often refer to age-related hearing loss as a “silent assassin” because it sneaks up on you when you least expect it.
Some of the impacts of hearing loss include: reduced physical activity levels, social isolation, increased risk of falls, depression and anxiety, decreased brain matter volume, fatigue and increased risk of dementia.
At Urban Well we consider your hearing within the ‘whole’ picture of your health; utilising a multi-modal approach that simplifies things for you.
Just because hearing loss is “invisible” does not mean it should be treated differently to any other physical or chronic health condition.
Why is Treating Hearing Loss Important?
Most of our clients (at first) are not ‘thrilled’ to wear hearing aids.
However, once people understand the flow on effects of untreated hearing loss and see the newest technology available, it is easier to see why it is important to treat hearing loss like any other chronic health condition. This is because it, like any other chronic medical condition can have long-term consequences on our health and well-being.
Hearing is a crucial part of communication, when it is affected, you may also find yourself withdrawing from conversations or social scenarios. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
It can also be a source of tension between family members and reduce the richness of our life experiences.
Research shows that the average person waits 7 – 10 years to treat their hearing loss (WHO, 2017) . Yet, the potential impact of waiting this long on our quality of life and health can be profound.
Our mission, as a proactive health clinic, is to raise awareness about the power of early intervention (and prevention) to maintain brain health. Dementia is the second leading cause of death in Australia and is more widespread than many of us know. In fact, 30% of Australians over the age of 85 suffer from this condition (Dementia Australia, 2020).
Hearing and Brain Health
Something that many people do not know is the strong links between untreated hearing loss, cognitive decline and dementia. The Lancet Commission outlined hearing loss treatment as one of the top 12 modifiable risk factors in preventing dementia (in their Dementia Prevention, Intervention, and Care: 2020 Report).
Research shows that hearing loss adds unnecessary strain to a person’s ability to process sounds. This then increases the need to use other cognitive resources such as working memory, “exhausting” the brain (Lin & Albert, 2014).
Neuro-imaging has also found that untreated hearing loss leads to accelerated rates of brain atrophy (reduced brain volume), not only in the areas responsible for hearing and language, but also those important for memory and sensory integration. These areas are also involved in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (Lin & Albert, 2014).
Astonishingly, untreated hearing loss increases the risk of dementia by 200% for a mild loss, 300% for a moderate loss and 500% for a severe loss (Lin & Albert, 2014).
What are the statistics around hearing aid use?
Hearing loss prevalence doubles every decade, as we age. In addition to this, nearly two-thirds of adults over 70 have a significant hearing loss (Lin & Albert, 2014).
Yet, of these people, only a small number actually seek treatment and of those that are given hearing aids:
- 20% do not wear them at all
- 30% wear them some of the time (usually only for conversations in groups)
In total, these statistics account for half of all users (Addelman, 2020).
At Urban Well we work with clients to problem-solve what might be contributing to these statistics (as it will depend on the individual wearer), so that all our clients wear their aids consistently to better their brain health outcomes.
Signs of Hearing Loss
Do you notice any of the following?
- You find it difficult to have conversations in busy environments like restaurants or groups
- You find you often need to turn the TV volume up
- You struggle to hear someone if they are talking to you from another room
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves
- You miss everyday sounds like door bells or telephones
- Your friends and family feel that you miss-hear some words in conversations
- You have issues with high-pitched female voices or children’s voices
- You find social situations tiring or frustrating
These are all common signs that you may have a hearing loss and therefore would benefit from having a hearing test with one of our experienced and friendly team.
Urban Well’s belief that ageing is inevitable (“but decline is optional”) extends to our hearing services. Our experienced audiology team are here to help provide the support that you need to hear better and live your best life.
Our hearing is made up of many different parts, from our ears to our brains. Our team will carry out a number of tests to determine the type and degree of hearing difficulties you are experiencing.
We will give a detailed explanation of your hearing and will work with you to determine the most appropriate solution for your lifestyle needs. This may include hearing aids, environmental aids, counselling or strengthening your listening tactics.
Your hearing matters to us!
- Hearing assessment
- Hearing aid fitting and servicing
- Assistive listening device guidance
- Tinnitus assessment and therapy (click here)
- Hearing protection measures (swim moulds, industrial noise protection, etc.)
- Aftercare support
- Educational workshops and seminars