Release Date 8th May 2019
Research studies from all over the world have linked hearing loss with a number of serious health ailments, including early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and arthritis. Untreated hearing loss has been found to have significant increases to the risk of some of these conditions occurring and with others hearing loss can be a result of the condition. To better understand the impacts of hearing loss being left unaided, we must first understand what hearing loss is.
Hearing loss is more common than deafness in populations around the world. Hearing loss is the reduction in the ability to hear, whereas deafness is the inability to understand/hear speech and sounds through the ear even with hearing aids.
A hearing loss can range from mild to profound and has many different causes, including long-term noise exposure, injury, disease, other health conditions &/or their treatment medications, genetic defects and the general ageing process. A significant percent of the population in most countries are affected by hearing loss. In Australia more than 13% of the population suffers from a hearing loss (1). Whilst in New Zealand, 9% of the population are identified to have a loss (2). In the USA the hearing loss rate is around 12% (3).
1 in 5 people with an unaided hearing loss were found to suffer early onset dementia, and those with a loss without hearing aids were 24% more likely to suffer Alzheimer’s (4,8). These alarming results pose the question, why are we avoiding treating our hearing loss with hearing aids? Not only can hearing loss be assisted with hearing aids, it is strongly believed that with their use this risk rate will reduce significantly. Only 1 in 7 people with hearing loss are taking the step to getting aids, this is a growing and serious concern for our friends and family (5,6).
In many of the studies linking hearing loss with dementia, it is thought to be a mixture of the physical reduction in stimulation to the brain, redirection of mental effort from other areas of the brain to hearing strain as well as the behaviour change undertaken by many with a hearing loss where they become more reclusive, avoiding large social gatherings which prove difficult to someone with a hearing loss (4, 7). The wearing of hearing aids when suffering even a mild loss, could, in time, reduce your risk of early-onset dementia and allows you to carry on leading a full and active life (9).
The simple answer is no. Just like any medical device, you get what you pay for and the cheaper it is the more features it will be missing. When considering hearing aids it is usually better to avoid unknown brands, as many of these may not have been through the rigorous development and testing phases as well as the government sanctioned assessments that the global brands have completed and passed. Buying from a well known brand gives you better peace of mind that your hearing aid is one of the best designs in the world. The cheap, unknown brand ‘hearing aids’ you see online often have not been tested as carefully or some are just noise amplifiers, not actually hearing aids, and these could cause more damage to your hearing with use.
Here are some tips when shopping for hearing aids:
If you have found yourself turning up the volume on the TV? Not catching the whole conversation, especially in group settings? When we start to notice these little things it is a good indicator that you may have a hearing loss.
There is a great free hearing screening tool online by the Australian Government. It can give you an idea of how your hearing is for speech in a noisy environment. Go to: https://knowyournoise.nal.gov.au/hearing-test/
If you have any questions about hearing loss or would like to assistance finding a qualified audiologist near you, contact our audiological professionals Free call: AU 1800 771 618 or NZ 0800 771 618, Online chat: Click Chat Now below, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
And, if you do go on to need a hearing aid and purchase with us, we’ll happily reimburse you $100 for the cost of your hearing test. Plus, we have a 100% money back guarantee on all our hearing aids and you only pay 50% of the total cost when you order.
This information has been brought to you by The Hearing Heroes.