Hearing loss is not uncommon amongst Australian adults, but what many of them may not know is that the condition is often connected with other health issues as well.
New research from the International Hearing Institute Cochlear Limited has shown that not only is adult hearing loss connected to an increased risk for multiple health problems, but that 57 per cent of Australians aren’t aware of this fact – or they simply don’t believe it.
These health issues include conditions such as diabetes, stroke, elevated blood pressure, heart attack, psychiatric disorders and affective mood disorders.
In a Newspoll survey conducted in August this year, a worrying number of those who already had hearing aids or were aware of their hearing problems did not believe in this connection, with 84 per cent of respondents saying they believe hearing loss was unrelated to other health issues or were unsure of any connection.
Mild hearing loss is considered to be a loss of 25 decibels, which is about the point when a person will struggle to hear a conversation in a noisy room. A recent study of those aged 60+ with this level of hearing loss were found to score significantly lower on cognitive tests.
This research, conducted by the John Hopkins University, concluded that those people with mild hearing loss were also susceptible to cognitive ageing of about seven years.
Possible reasons why cognitive decline is connected to a hearing loss include social isolation, the increased mental effort required for dealing with, or compensating for, hearing problems taking its toll, or possibly an underlying problem that causes both issues at once.
Experts suggest one of the best ways to combat overall health problems is to visit a hearing clinic for a hearing test. An early diagnosis can not only help prevent further hearing issues, but will also assist in managing the issue earlier.