The statistics on the number of people with hearing loss are significant with more than 40% of people over the age of 50 suffering from some sort of hearing issues, and with an aging population those numbers are only going to go up.
Unbelievably on average, people take between seven and 10 years to seek help for their hearing loss meaning that there is a huge number of the population suffering unnecessarily with not being able to hear clearly.
Here are three reasons from Imperial Hearing on why you should be prioritising your hearing health:
Mental health and hearing Loss
Hearing loss is annoying, and it is frustrating having to ask people to repeat themselves or to turn the telly up but rather than seeking professional help, many people tend to self-treat their hearing loss by changing their lifestyle. Removing themselves from social circles and avoiding situations that highlights their hearing issues leads many to be isolated, depressed and angry.
In fact, in a study run by the National Council on Aging of 2,300 hearing impaired adults over the age of 50 it was reported that those suffering from hearing loss were 50% more likely to experience depression.
By being more aware of our own hearing and encouraging our loved ones to seek help if they feel like their hearing is declining could reduce the effects to mental health and the number of people suffering. Going to the audiologists should be as common place as going to the opticians.
Use it or lose it
In most cases hearing loss is gradual and you may start to lose sounds before you even realise it, it typically starts with the sounds S, F or T and as you listen to someone speak, those letters fade.
Over time, the part of the brain that decodes speech loses the ability to understand the words that has those letters missing and so the interpretation of sound suffers. Without hearing those sounds anymore, the brain isn’t being stimulated accordingly – you have to use it or lose it.
The longer that you’re not exercising your brain by recognising these sounds, the quicker you will lose the ability to hear. So time is of the essence as soon as you notice that your hearing isn’t as it should be.
Hearing loss linked with dementia
In a recent study by Johns Hopkins University and the National Institute on aging it was found that the brains of people with hearing loss were shrinking at a much faster rate and in individuals who were much younger than expected. As a result, these people experienced a higher incidence of dementia and other health problems.
The medical community has established that a reduction in brain size is one of the main mechanisms when it comes to cognitive disorders such as dementia and there is a correlation between hearing loss and shrinkage.
When the brain senses that it is beginning to lose a functionality, in this case hearing, it re-routes its nutrients, blood and oxygen to different parts of the brain, essentially shrinking the part of the brain responsible for hearing. This causes irreversible damage.
How to help hearing loss
The good news is that identifying and treating hearing loss is relatively straight forward. As soon as you or a loved one notice a decline in your hearing, go along to your audiologist for a hearing check. More often than not, any hearing issues can be treated with a hearing aid. Technology has developed to a point that hearing aids are so discreet that no one needs to know that you ever had a problem to begin with….
Hearing health checks are available at all Imperial Hearing Centres across the Midlands, South West and South Coast. Find your nearest one by visiting https://www.imperialhearing.com/hearing-centres/