Hearing and quality of life are closely linked, according to senior audiologist at Victorian Hearing, Nicole Bowden.
“Hearing loss impacts on our social, emotional, psychological and physical well being,” Ms Bowden said.
“People with hearing impairment can experience embarrassment, loss of confidence, irritability and anger, depression, feelings of being ignored, dependence on others, withdrawal, isolation and loneliness, and tiredness.
“These effects mean hearing loss can place a very real strain on relationships and employment,” she said.
Despite the fact that deafness can be socially isolating, it can take 7-15 years for people who clearly have hearing loss to get tested.
A key reason for those long years in denial about deafness is the stigma of hearing loss. Advances in technology have changed the lives of those who have hearing impairments with smaller, easier to use, clearer, smarter hearing aids and devices.
The key is to recognise hearing loss early.
Some of the early warning signs of hearing loss are: you need to turn the television up louder than others, you think people mumble, you find it hard to hear in noisy situations or groups of people, you can hear but not understand and you don’t always hear the doorbell or phone.#
One in six Australians are hearing impaired, deaf or have an ear disorder.
“Thirty-seven per cent of hearing loss is due to noise injury, which could have been prevented,” Ms Bowden said.
“Young people and farmers are at risk because they turn their music player headphones up loud to block out machinery noise.
“Noise-related hearing loss among young adults is concerning, their ears are ageing faster than they should be,” she said.
If you think you or a family member may have a hearing problem, see your GP.
They will check your ear for any problems, such as earwax or a perforated eardrum.
They may then refer you to an audiologist (hearing specialist) or an ENT surgeon for further tests. Tackling the problem early can improve both your hearing and your quality of life.
Hearing New England is a fully independent private audiology clinic located in Armidale. The centre is locally owned and operated by Leanne Betterridge, an experienced audiologist with extensive knowledge about the speech signal and why it may become difficult to understand.
“The impact of hearing loss is usually noticed when people start avoiding social situations because they cannot understand what is being said,” according to Leanne. She can help people learn good "listening tactics" and is experienced with hearing aid fitting and providing ongoing support for individual hearing needs. www.hearingnewengland.com.au