Hearing loss and the connection to serious health conditions

New research reveals lack of awareness of connection between hearing loss and serious health conditions by Australians

New research, commissioned by Australian Hearing, Australia’s leading hearing specialist, reveals that the majority of Australians are not aware that untreated hearing loss is associated with some serious health conditions. In particular, 91% of Australians do not realise there is an association between diabetes and hearing issues.

Hearing loss is a multi-faceted issue and can impact both the person experiencing it, as well as their friends and family. In young children, undiagnosed hearing loss can lead to poor language skills and behavioural issues, and in older people it can be associated with depression and cognitive decline.

The majority (61%) of Australians aged over 40 years with hearing loss did not seek help within five years, with 42% among those having serious hearing loss.

Dr Magdalena Simonis, GP and member of the Hearing Health Advisory Panel (HHAP) comments, “Hearing loss and diabetes are two of Australia’s most common health concerns and we know that people living with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer hearing loss as those without the condition. The structure of the inner ear is highly vascularised so any changes to the small blood vessels can lead to hearing loss.”

Australian Hearing has established the Hearing Health Advisory Panel to help address the impact of hearing loss across the life stages.

Emma Scanlan Principal Audiologist for Adults at Australian Hearing and Founding Member of the Hearing Health Advisory Panel (HHAP) comments, “One in six Australians experiences some level of hearing loss, and that figure is set to increase to one in four over the next 30 years.”

“It’s time for us all to be a part of the solution and to drive much needed awareness of its potential impact. Hearing loss, particularly when left untreated, can impact a person’s physical and mental health, work, relationships and family life.

“A hearing check takes less than five minutes and is available at Australian Hearing centres or at your local GP,” said Emma Scanlan.

Hearing Loss: Be a part of the solution

The Hearing Health Advisory Panel’s top five reasons why you should take action and discuss hearing loss with family and friends this holiday season:

  1. So no one misses out simply because of a missed conversation
    • Talk to your family about hearing challenges so everyone can enjoy the family reunion. Noisy environments can be very challenging and may stop those who find it difficult from socialising, often without others understanding.
  2. To keep enjoying family traditions
    • Don’t let hearing loss impact family traditions. Enjoy the traditions together like watching a favourite Christmas movie or listening to carols, many hearing challenges can be helped if they are discussed, for example where you sit or being aware of the level of surrounding noise
  3. So the sounds of Christmas can be enjoyed
    • Be it hearing the delight of your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews opening their presents, the BBQ sizzling or the sound of leather on willow being broadcast or backyard cricket fun!
  4. To give hope to a worried friend or family member
    • Discuss the association between hearing loss and overall health as there could be an option to assist and make the New year ahead less challenging or socially isolating
  5. Christmas is often a good time to simply talk
    • The support, concern or simply interest from a family, friend or loved one to talk about hearing loss and its challenges cannot be underestimated.