Health & lifestyle
How’s your hearing?
'Pardon, what was that?' 'I just missed what you said, sorry'. Does this sound familiar? As people get older they might find themselves saying these phrases more often. In fact, hearing loss affects over half of all Australians over 60.
At first they might not notice it but over time they realise that something is different; that it is harder to hear when there is noise, or perhaps that they are getting words mixed up. What about you? Have you found it harder to hear lately? You might have even noticed that your family and close friends have begun to comment on your hearing and how it has changed.
There are some simple reasons for why your hearing might change – the most common cause is simply that hearing deteriorates as we age. This is permanent and it just happens over time. Although not often talked about, hearing loss can cause significant difficulties in communication, leading to frustration and sometimes even withdrawal from social situations. If you know someone with hearing loss then there are a few things to keep in mind. Remember to talk normally and not too fast, to face the person directly, and reduce any background noise. And importantly be patient, sometimes you may just need to repeat what you have said, maybe even in a different way.
Tinnitus is another common problem associated with hearing. Do you remember leaving a loud venue or using power tools and finding your ears are ringing? Well, that’s tinnitus, and it is pretty common. It is a sound that does not come from an external source but can be heard in the ears or head. It can be caused by exposure to loud noise and be a sign of inner ear damage, hearing loss or in fewer situations dental or jaw problems. Persistent or severe tinnitus can cause disruption to someone’s life so it is important to get the right support. Take a look at Australian Hearing's ttinnitus fact sheet to learn more. There are also tinnitus support groups, including the Australian Tinnitus Association in most Australian States.
Check your hearing
If you have noticed that you are not hearing so well maybe it is worth having a hearing test, they are a simple way of finding out what you can and can’t hear. Find your local Australian Hearing centre or perhaps jump on the phone and take a free phone hearing test – Telscreen. It’s not the same as a face to face assessment but if you are not sure if you should have a test, or are just curious about your hearing give Telscreen a try. If you find that testing identifies some hearing difficulties then a hearing professional can talk to you about what might be able to help.
Hearing aids or listening devices can help to make things easier for people with hearing loss. Many of us will remember friends or relatives with large hearing aids that often seemed to whistle or irritate the user, but the good news is that hearing aids have changed a lot over the last ten years. Now, thanks to modern technology they are smaller and most importantly, work much more effectively. What you choose depends on your needs and your budget, but with the right advice you will be able to find something that suits you.
Want to know more?
To help you find out more about hearing loss we have put together some relevant links and resources.
This article is based on information from the Australian Hearing website.
To help you find out more about hearing loss we have put together some relevant links and resources.Read more