The hidden cost of hearing loss 5



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Age Related Hearing Loss (ARHL) is a gradual process that can sneak up on anybody. Some detect the problem early. Others take years to acknowledge it, let alone act on it.

My father belonged to latter group. As his hearing began to decline, he simply chose to accept it as something out of his control. I believe he took this path out of pride: the idea that he wasn’t particularly old; the confidence that he could still get by; the belief that he didn’t really need the help.

While we respected his decision, it’s clear in hindsight that it affected not only his life, but also that of those around him. Having to speak twice to be noticed was only a trivial nuisance from day to day, but in the long run, it created tangible tension for the family. A certain form of casual, lightweight conversation slowly became off-limits between us.

Worse still, it took its toll on his social life. As he was already a quiet, independent man, this transition was difficult to spot at first. Eventually, however, the vicious cycle was clear: the social challenge was stopping him from socialising; the less he practiced those social skills, the more challenging it became.

Even when he got his hearing aid, it seemed to spend a year in his drawer until he finally made it a routine part of his life.

It’s strange to think that these years of tension and isolation could have been so easily preventable.

He wasn’t alone. The overwhelming majority of hearing problems can be treated or worked around, but so few people will bring their concerns to a doctor. What’s holding us back?

It seems that for many of us in the Starts at 60 community, even today, it’s simply too hard to shake the stigma of hearing loss. Many of us think of a hearing aid as an admission of ageing. The simple idea of needing one can change the way we perceive ourselves. It creates doubt and worry about how others see us.

It’s time we put an end to that line of thought.

Starts at 60 has teamed with AudioClinic to help remove this stigma. Hearing technology has evolved far beyond the bulky, semi-effective stereotypes we tend to imagine.

On the contrary, today’s hearing aids are designed for comfort. They can effortlessly block out background noise. Most importantly, they’re so discreet that nobody will even know you’re wearing one.

So what is holding us back?

Book a free* hearing checkup today for your chance to win one of 20 Apple Watches!

This post is sponsored by AudioClinic. It was written as we feel it brings valuable insights into a subject important to the Starts at 60 community. For more information on what you can do to avoid hearing aid stigma, click here.



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  1. I first noticed a slight hearing loss in one ear when aged 16, but it didn’t affect my career or social life until I was near retiring age. Since then both ears have become increasingly deaf. I wear two hearing aids and am satisfied with the professional service. The only problem is that, though background noise is diminished, chatter in a crowded room isn’t. And it is difficult to lip read when a person talking is not facing you.

  2. If people refuse to get help because of vanity, they deserve the consequences.
    I started to lose my hearing as a teen, got increasingly stronger aids and when they were insufficient got cochlear implants, one about 12 years ago (covered by Medicare) and the second about 6 years ago ( I joined a fund for 13 months).
    I have received excellent help since from Australian Hearing Services and Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre (SCIC)>

  3. My mother in law has to wear hearing aids. However, the new small hearing aids are beyond her ability to use. She puts them in back the front, upside down etc. she can’t change the batteries and when her husband does, he mixes everything up as well. I wonder how many older people don’t use them because of this. Thie same goes for other technology like talking books. They have become so streamlined and clever to the point where older people cannot use them any more. These things have to be made easier for older people to use.

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