Hearing loss or deafness is a common health concern seen among the elderly. It should be given primary attention and importance as this condition directly affects the quality of life of seniors. Hearing loss can also put the safety of the elderly at risk.
To address this growing health issue, there are events like the World Health Organisation’s World Hearing Day that raise awareness about hearing loss and how to prevent it. Australia supports this effort and is committed to implementing programs and monitoring statistics and developments related to ear health and hearing problems.
Hearing services program
More than 3 million Australians over 50 years old are affected by hearing loss. This number is expected to increase as the ageing population in the country rapidly grows. The Australian Government recognises this fact, as well as the social, mental, and economic impact of hearing loss or deafness.
In an effort to raise awareness and promote ear health, the government’s Hearing Services Program offers free or subsidised hearing devices or services to eligible individuals with hearing conditions. There’s also the Commonwealth’s Australian Hearing Specialist Program for Indigenous Australians, which is responsible for providing diagnosis, equipment, surgeries, and professional ear health training.
Health effects of untreated hearing loss
Age-related hearing loss may be difficult to avoid, but there are ear health services that seniors or older adults can take advantage of. However, a lot of them still refuse to seek help and use modern devices like hearing aids. Regrettably, like in most health conditions or problems, untreated hearing loss has health risks and lifelong impacts on the overall wellbeing of an individual.
Based on a long-term study, untreated hearing loss has huge adverse effects on the daily activities, emotional or mental health, and the quality of life of the elderly. Hearing loss affects how they communicate and socialise with others. It increases disability as the condition makes it difficult for them to perform basic tasks like bathing, using the telephone, and shopping. The study also found those that do not use hearing aids have significant risks of developing dementia and depression.
While hearing loss is common, there are ways that can ease the impairment among the elderly. Using hearing aids and seeking expert care and services are important. These should be highlighted to diminish health risks and help older people live a happier life.