There is no universal agreement on definition of healthy ageing. As per World Health Organisation (WHO) Healthy ageing is the ability of people to live a healthy, safe and socially inclusive lifestyle.
Hearing impairment is one of the most common conditions of aging. The prevalence of hearing loss increases with age. Nearly 1 in 3 people between the age of 65 and 75 has hearing loss. Approximately 50% of People older than 75 have clinically significant hearing loss.
Can you imagine your life without hearing the voice of your loved ones? No, it’s difficult for everyone. It is really annoying when you want to participate in a conversation and but you are not able to hear the voice of others properly. It creates lack of confidence in the mind and people who are suffering from these kinds of issues and feels like to stay home rather than participating in any social gathering, a family function or in a party.
That is the unfortunate reality of “Hearing loss” that the persons who are around 65 years and above face these kinds of problems in their routine life. Then the hearing difficulty becomes hindrance in health ageing. About 25% of that age group with hearing difficulty don’t use the hearing aids. Some of them are not confident to use them, some feels they will become dependent on hearing aids. If a hearing aid is fitted appropriately after a proper assessment then it improves the hearing quality and it does not damage hearing. Studies show that the people who wear hearing aids are more happy and confident than others.
Person with hearing loss can have an impact on their emotion such as
- Annoyance – because you cannot hear or understand them
- Stress – because of straining to hear what others are saying
- Embarrassment – because you misunderstand them as what others are saying
- Feeling nervous – because of trying to hear and to understand
- Avoiding social situations – because of difficulty in hearing
If you have observed elderly with hearing difficulty you might have observed that they are bit low, slow and not responding with complete happiness. The reason for their unhappiness may be that they are going through low self-esteem, frustration and they are not sharing it with anyone. It is not that they are hiding their personal health issues but they are not able to share with others. Because of that, they face health issues like depression and poor health. Stress is a normal part of everyday life, but for the seniors with hearing loss, it becomes more difficult.
All phase of life can get affected by negative emotions and it can then also affect their family and personal relations. Person with hearing loss tends to blame others for mumbling, gets into argument over volume of the TV and radio. They find difficult to share their personal thoughts and feelings with friends.
Hearing loss can also have an impact on physical health of the elderly. It may be in the form of lessening personal safety, un-wellness or falls. People suffering from hearing loss may have trouble in hearing an alarm or a siren or may not listen to someone shouting a warning. They might not hear a doctor’s advice concerning medication or additional important medical information. Studies show that person with balance disorder and untreated hearing loss can suffer three times more than those without.
Hearing & Balance
Ear is the only organ in our body that is responsible for two function – Hearing and Balance. Anatomy of the Inner ear house both senses hearing and balance. Therefore when inner ear gets affected due to any reason either disease or ageing, it is possible that one’s both hearing and balance function can get affected or may be only hearing or only balance can get affected. Person with dizziness or balance disorder may or may not have hearing loss. It is important to remember that dizziness or vertigo is only a symptom and not a diagnosis. Formal vestibular assessment is required to know what can be the cause of dizziness/vertigo and then this can help in treatment. So when you visit audiology specialist for dizziness/vertigo assessment your hearing will also be assessed as it can give lot of information about your hearing & balance.
In short, hearing impairment hits each side of life for seniors, from physical well-being to emotional health and family relationships. Happily, the answer might belong only one simple call to “The Audiology Clinic”. If you are seeking help for hearing and/or balance disorder we at The Audiology Clinic can assist you to re-engage in life once again. Do not miss out on another vital moment!