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World Hearing Day a Reminder on the Urgent Need to Address Hearing Loss and Its Link to Dementia in Australia

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BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA 5 March 2024 – Hearing health is a critical yet often overlooked aspect of overall well-being, with significant implications for both social and cognitive functions. The connection between untreated hearing loss and dementia is particularly concerning, with recent research highlighting how auditory deprivation can accelerate cognitive decline. This connection underscores the importance of addressing hearing loss proactively, not only to enhance communication and social interaction but also to safeguard long-term cognitive health.Hearing Loss in Australia

One in six Australians experience hearing loss impacting their ability to communicate with others, leading to social isolation, loneliness, and frustration. Unfortunately, more than half of these individuals are not taking action to address their hearing loss due to common misconceptions about hearing aids.1

Misconception 1 – Hearing aids will be noticeable. Modern hearing aids are designed with discretion in mind, many models being compact enough to fit snugly in the ear canal and remain virtually unseen. The signs of untreated hearing loss, such as asking for repetitions or misunderstanding conversations, can be more noticeable than wearing a hearing aid.

Misconception 2 – Hearing aids are expensive. While some hearing aids, particularly those requiring professional fitting, can be costly, advancements in technology have led to a range of options that are more affordable. Some models even allow users to self-fit, reducing costs associated with professional services.

Misconception 3 – Hearing aids don’t work when there is noise. Advances in hearing aid technology, such as directional microphones and noise reduction features, have significantly improved their performance in challenging listening situations, enabling wearers to focus on conversations even amidst background noise.

Misconception 4 – Hearing aids need to be professionally fitted. The advent of digital technology and smart applications has introduced the possibility of self-fitting for certain types of hearing aids. This innovation allows individuals to conduct hearing tests and adjust settings from the comfort of their homes, making hearing aids more accessible and convenient to use.

Hearing Loss and Dementia

In Australia, dementia is an increasingly pressing concern, affecting individuals with the condition as well as their families and friends. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, with the ageing and growing population, Australia is set to see the number of people suffering from dementia to reach over 800,000 by 2058. While there is no cure for dementia at present, various strategies exist to help maintain autonomy and life quality for affected individuals for an extended period.

The cognitive load of deciphering sounds and conversations, combined with the social withdrawal stemming from communication difficulties, contributes to a diminished quality of life and accelerated cognitive decline.

Emerging research suggests that the use of hearing aids may offer a promising intervention to slow the progression of cognitive decline by improving auditory input, thus reducing the cognitive load, and enhancing social engagement. Although hearing aids cannot reverse cognitive decline, they hold the potential to improve the quality of life for individuals with hearing loss and may contribute to a delay in the onset of dementia. This preventative approach, focusing on maintaining hearing health, underscores the importance of regular hearing assessments and the early adoption of hearing aids when needed.

By addressing hearing loss proactively, we can take a significant step towards reducing the dementia burden in Australia.

Vibe Hearing in Australia – Breaking Down Barriers, Addressing Misconceptions

The Award-Winning Vibe Air from Vibe Hearing is a hearing aid technology designed to challenge misconceptions and break down the barriers to hearing care
The Award-Winning Vibe Air from Vibe Hearing is a hearing aid technology designed to challenge misconceptions and break down the barriers to hearing care

The World Health Organization’s theme for World Hearing Day 2024, Changing mindsets: Let’s make ear and hearing care a reality for all aims to change mindsets, break stigmas, and bring ear and hearing care for all. Vibe Hearing’s Vibe Air supports the goals of World Hearing Day by offering a solution to Australians with unaddressed hearing loss, bringing them an affordable, discreet, self-fitted solution that meets their needs and more.

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1 Anovum 2021 – AustraliaTrak 2021

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