Hearing Problems Are Not Just an Issue for the Elderly

Hearing aids are not just for old people
There is a common misconception about hearing aids: that they are only for older people and those who have severe hearing problems. As such, there is unfortunately something of a stigma attached to wearing one of these devices – something which hearing experts are constantly trying to overcome.
The truth is – according to charity group Action on Hearing Loss – that in 2011 there werer around ten million people in the UK who could benefit from the use of a hearing aid – around one in six of the population. By 2015, the group expects this figure to reach 14.5 million. Yet currently, only 1.4 million people regularly use a hearing aid.
With better hearing, a vast improvement in quality of life comes with it. Better hearing is not just about having the television on a lower volume, it’s about being able to better communicate with others. Many studies have shown that hearing problems which prevent people from communicating lead to social exclusion and, in turn, feelings of depression. Now a new study has even suggested that not being able to hear and communicate speeds up cognitive decline, which could lead to the onset of dementia. It is also worth considering that while hearing loss can occur suddenly as a result of an accident or infection, it is often a result of a degenerative process, meaning that many people don’t realise their hearing is failing.
To avoid the implications of hearing loss, therefore, it is advisable to have regular hearing tests after the age of 50, and look out for the warning signs of failing hearing. These include having difficulty following conversations with friends and family, and failing to isolate particular sounds in busy environments. You should also look out for these signs in older relatives – not everyone spots them and knows what to do about it. If detected early, use of a hearing aid can restore impaired hearing and allow the individual to continue an active and engaging life.
As for the stigma attached to wearing a hearing aid, much of that comes from old-fashioned impressions of clunky, conspicuous hearing aids, but modern devices can be much more discrete. There is a wide range of options available from a typical hearing aid specialist, including those that sit inside the ear canal and are therefore near-invisible to others. What type of device you may need is dependent on a person’s specific hearing needs and the shape of the ear, but personal preference can also be taken into account.
The only way to really understand what options you personally have with hearing aids is to speak to an expert, so if you’re worried about your hearing, or if you’re over 50 and haven’t had your hearing tested in a while, look for a specialist which offers a free, no-obligation consultation.