Hearing loss is all too common. According to Statistics Canada, 18% of adult Canadians have at least mild hearing loss in the speech-frequency range. An even higher percentage – 35% – have hearing loss in the high-frequency range. Its prevalence rises with age – 46% of people aged 45 to 87 experience some form of hearing loss.
Hearing Loss – Impact on Self
Hearing loss can cause older adults to become socially withdraw which may lead to social isolation, anxiety, and depression. In addition, unmanaged hearing loss may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, as the more intense level of concentration required to process verbal information may further impact one’s cognitive abilities. Finally, research shows there is a greater risk of falling with hearing loss, with the risk of falling correlated with the severity of the hearing loss.
Hearing Loss – Impact on Family
The impact of hearing loss may extend well beyond the individual and onto their friends and family. The individual may have trouble understanding others, who in turn may become fatigued while repeating themselves. Should physical injury or dementia occur, it will also impact the individual along with their close family.
The good news is that early detection in hearing loss may allow for preventive activities that prevent or delay further loss. Also, about 90% of people of people with hearing loss can improve communication with a properly fitted hearing aid, with the added benefits of reducing risks for falling and dementia.
A hearing test can tell you if you need to get hearing aids to reduce further damage to your ears, and if you may be in need of a hearing aid. The whole process takes 45 minutes and is completely painless. No doctor’s referral is required.