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Hearing loss is a sudden or gradual decrease in how well you can hear. It is one of the most common conditions affecting older and elderly adults. Approximately one in three people between the ages of 65 and 74 has hearing loss and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing.

What causes hearing loss?

Hearing loss happens for a number of different reasons. Many people lose their hearing slowly as they age, this is completely normal.  Another reason for hearing loss may be years of exposure to loud noise. This is known as noise-induced hearing loss. Many construction workers, farmers, musicians, airport workers, landscaping and tree care workers, and people in the armed forces have hearing problems even in their younger and middle years because of too much exposure to loud noise. 

One of the main reasons people might ignore their deteriorating hearing is the perceived stigma associated with hearing loss, particularly age-related issues. Some people think that wearing a hearing aid can make them look older and people might start treating them differently.

But untreated hearing loss can cause unwanted behavioural changes, including:
  • Asking people to repeat themselves
  • Not participating in conversations
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Not being involved in work meetings
  • Not hearing traffic or other important sounds
  • Dementia and alzheimers, both which have a link to untreated hearing loss
  • Depression

It’s extremely important to combat such misconceptions, as they prevent people from seeking help. This can turn out to be very harmful, as hearing loss worsens when left untreated. Hearing aids not only improve hearing – they are also a preventative measure against social isolation, depression, dementia and alzheimers.

Thankfully, in recent years this perceived stigma has started to dissolve as hearing aids have become smaller and less noticeable. Some, like Lyric, sit inside the ear canal and are virtually invisible. This has helped people with hearing loss become more accepting of their diminished hearing ability, and less worried of what people will think if they wear hearing aids.

How can this be prevented?

In order to hear, we not only need two functioning ears, but also an intact and trained auditory response area in the brain. This is because, in the so-called auditory cortex, the acoustic pulses are interpreted and transmitted to the conscious mind. Did you know that our sense of hearing stimulates our brains more than our sense of sight? The problem is that when the brain is no longer sufficiently "stimulated" due to hearing loss over a longer period, nerve endings are broken down.

As a result, the brain not only loses the ability to hear, but also ages faster overall; for every 10 decibels of hearing loss, the risk of dementia increases by more than 20 percent. The only thing that can prevent this development is timely treatment with a hearing aid. We recommend a yearly hearing test from the age of 50.
hearing loss carol
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