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5 things you didn’t know about hearing loss and ageing

Age-related hearing loss is very common, with one in three Australians over the age of 65 living with it. Here are five that might just change the way you think about your hearing as you age.
Two older persons walking down a street. The man is looking at his wife and smiling and his cochlear implant is visible.
  • Hearing

Age-related hearing loss is very common, with one in three Australians over the age of 65 currently living with it.

Despite the huge impact of hearing loss, awareness around how to prevent it – or manage it once you have it – is low. There are still many misconceptions that can hold people back from getting help. Here are five that might just change the way you think about your hearing as you age.

1. Hearing loss doesn’t have to be a part of getting older.

Age-related hearing loss generally occurs gradually and may not be noticeable at first.

But with time, it can have significant impacts on health and wellbeing, and make it difficult to engage in conversations, tolerate loud noises and distinguish between sounds, and it takes more effort to listen to and understand people speaking.

The good news is that it is possible to enhance your hearing and restore sound through the use of hearing aids or cochlear implants.

2. Age is no barrier to getting a cochlear implant. 

Each year more than 400 people receive cochlear implants through NextSense, and our clients range in age from three months to those in their 90s. What they have in common is moderate to profound hearing loss in one or both ears.

Unlike hearing aids which amplify sound, cochlear implants provide direct access to the cochlea and bypasses the damaged parts of the inner ear, providing access to high-quality, more detailed sound.

Whether your hearing loss has been gradual, or it has occurred suddenly, a cochlear implant can increase access to sound, even in noisy environments, to help you live life to the fullest.

Fewer than 10 percent of adults who could benefit from a cochlear implant have explored it as an option, even though studies have shown that adults who received cochlear implants understood sentences almost eight times better on average than they could previously, with hearing aids.

3. Hearing is as critical as looking after your heart, eyes and muscles as you age.  

If you are aged over 50 years, it is important to have regular hearing tests with an audiologist to address hearing loss early on.

Unaddressed hearing loss can lead to social withdrawal, depression and anxiety and can also affect balance, leading to a greater risk of falls and cognitive decline. It affects more people than diabetes or asthma. So it’s important to give hearing the same attention as you would other health concerns, for the good of your brain and your quality of life.

4. Dealing with hearing loss doesn’t have to break the bank.  

Australia has some of the best funding in the world for cochlear implants, making it accessible to those who are anyone who is suitable and eligible.

If you are an Australian resident covered by Medicare, there are generally no out-of-pocket costs for cochlear implants and our support services. We’re able to provide our services through government funding, private health insurance, and support from donations.

There are also state, territory, and charity- funded support schemes to assist with travel and accommodation for people in regional areas to help access our services.

5. Hearing loss increases the risk of dementia.

As hearing loss worsens, and people withdraw from social activities, wellbeing and mental health are at risk. Hearing loss is the number one, biggest modifiable risk for dementia in middle age – that’s a risk that can be controlled or changed. So it is crucial to address it early.

How to get help

The good news is that while it’s always better to act early, it’s never too late to get help with your hearing loss.

We regularly facilitate information sessions around Australia. You’ll learn more about cochlear implants, including the difference between a hearing aid and a hearing implant system; hear firsthand from cochlear implant recipients; and have your questions answered.

Find out if cochlear implants are right for you.

Discover Hearing Implants information sessions

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