Have you made any New Year’s resolutions yet? It’s common to take a healthy approach to new years with resolutions such as eat more healthy or do more exercise. We prioritise our physical health however how often do we think about our hearing health.
Hearing loss is one of the most common yet ignored health conditions. It can affect us in a number of ways both physically and mentally.
It is estimated that 11 million people have hearing loss. This makes it the second most common disability in the UK.
Hearing loss can occur at any age with factors including illness, loud noise and genetics being a cause. Age related hearing loss is common with 40% of over 40’s suffering hearing loss. This then rises to 70% in the over 70’s.
Hearing is one of our most important senses as it connects us to the world around us. When suffering from hearing loss you might find life less enjoyable, like the colour has faded.
Hearing loss has a huge impact on our overall health and well-being:
Loneliness and depression
Social isolation is common with hearing loss. It might be gradual starting with avoiding noisy group settings, until you find yourself completely withdrawing from the people and things you love. This can lead to feelings of depression and loneliness. Frustration can also be felt as you struggle to understand when people are trying to communicate.
With hearing loss, conversation becomes incredibly tiring. When you constantly strain to hear and understand, the brain gets overloaded. It must work harder to understand what people are saying. To compensate the brain must take energy and resources needed for other crucial functions such as remembering, acting and thinking.
Cognitive decline and dementia
Social isolation coupled with increased cognitive load has a negative impact on the brain. It causes cognitive decline which can in turn lead to dementia. According to studies, older adults with hearing loss are 65% more likely to develop dementia than those with hearing within normal range. This risk escalates as a person’s hearing loss worsens.
On average it takes a person 10 years to address their hearing loss. It may start off gradual just missing softer higher pitched sounds such as bird song and it may go completely unnoticed. That is why it is always a good idea to schedule annual hearing checks so that any hearing loss can be detected early. 74% of people wished they had got their hearing aids sooner as they found they improved their quality of life. They found improvement in relationships, social life and overall well-being.
If you have your routine health checks in your diary, why not add a hearing health check too. If you feel like you are missing out on important sounds around you, prioritise your hearing health. Book an appointment to start your journey to better hearing.