If you have difficulty hearing, you are not alone. Hearing loss is one of the most common health problems, affecting 10% of New Zealanders. Effects of hearing loss include: difficulty following conversation, especially in noise; turning up the television and feeling tired at the end of the day after having to concentrate hard to follow conversations (auditory fatigue).
Untreated hearing loss can have wide ranging affects including loss of self-esteem, depression and social isolation, as people often withdraw when it all gets too hard.
Unfortunately there is more…
Recent research by Frank Lin and his team at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have found that hearing loss has other ‘downstream’ effects, including memory changes, dementia and increased falls.
Hearing loss increases ‘cognitive load’, where the brain is overwhelmed with demands on its limited resources. Concentrating hard to follow the conversation means we have less resources for other things like memory and maintaining balance.
“Communicating when you have a hearing loss, takes up lot of brain power. It’s a bit like a computer that runs slower when there is a large programme running in the background.” says Maree O’Sullivan, audiologist.
Why do hearing aids help keep you active?
Hearing loss is usually gradual, we do not notice the subtle changes we make to our lifestyle to compensate for hearing loss. Acting early and using hearing aids keeps you active and social. Hearing aids also reduce ‘cognitive load’, as wearers can easily hear the conversation and respond appropriately.
Studies have shown that people who decide to use hearing aids without delaying the decision have a better chance of a higher quality of life, compared to those who delay the decision.
Hearing aid technology continues to develop at a rapid pace. Current hearing aids are highly effective and virtually invisible. They automatically adjust to the listening environment you are in so you can relax, engage and be yourself.
Don’t let hearing loss change your life. It doesn’t have to. Hearing aids can keep you active.