Hearing loss due to normal ageing (presbycusis) is one of the most common conditions affecting older adults. One in six Australians have hearing loss with 60 percent of people over 60 and 70 percent of people over 70 experiencing hearing difficulties. People living with diabetes or those with cardiovascular issues are more likely to experience hearing loss earlier as are those who have had exposure to noisy work environments. And yet, people wait anywhere between 7-10 years to act on their hearing loss.
As people age, we know that relationships become more and more important between family, friends, social groups and the health professional / patient relationship. Unmanaged hearing loss can greatly impact this resulting in withdrawal, anxiety, social isolation and ultimately depression. In fact sensory loss, including hearing, has been identified as a manageable risk factor for dementia with research suggesting that people with mild hearing loss may be twice as likely to develop dementia as those with health hearing. Hearing loss may place an additional load on the mental resources of a vulnerable brain as the person who has difficulty hearing works harder to decode and process sounds. This additional load may mean that there are fewer resources for memory, understanding speech, and other cognitive functions, and this may lead to changes in the brain.
Signs of hearing loss include:
- asking people to repeat what they have said more often
- avoiding having phone conversations and letting others take messages or talk for you
- finding noisy environments challenging and tiring
- turning the radio or television up louder than you used to
- feeling isolated from others
The first step is to advise your patient to get their hearing assessed as early diagnosis and immediate intervention are important. Patients should consider checking their hearing as part of their regular annual health checks.
You can refer patients to your local Connect Hearing clinic in Beerwah, Biloela, Buderim, Bundaberg, Caloundra, Gladstone, Maleny, Rockhampton, Tewantin, and Yeppoon for hearing services, tinnitus assistance, pre-employment & audiometry testing and custom ear plugs. You will also receive a comprehensive report for their Hearing Assessment.
Contact them on 1300 721 589 or firstname.lastname@example.org to request a free referral template for your practice software.
This article was submitted by Connect Hearing. For more information visit their website.