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As Australians Age, Hearing Loss Becomes More Common

Private alternative to aged care and assisted living facilities in Brisbane stresses importance of understanding hearing loss.

Australia, 31 March 2014 - Medical advances are helping people live longer than at any time in history. In addition, due to the ageing of the “baby boomer” generation, the number of elderly Australians is increasing and this leads to the increase in the number of people who suffer from hearing loss as well.

Between the ages of 65 and 74, as many as one third of Australians suffer from hearing loss. In those 75 and over, as many as half suffer from the same condition. Phil Usher, co-founder of Tall Trees Care Communities, feels that Australians need to understand hearing loss to help elevate the quality of life for those who suffer from it. According to Mr Usher, “Some hearing loss is a natural result of the ageing process, but it is important to monitor those over 65 to ensure that their hearing loss falls within the normal range.”

When “Normal” Age-Related Hearing Changes Become “Hearing Loss”

Many older Australians begin to lose some of their hearing as a natural part of the ageing process, but many lose a large enough percentage of their hearing to be classified as hearing loss. Anyone who has three or more of the following symptoms of hearing loss is recommended to contact their doctor:

Problems hearing telephones, cell phones or conversation when in the presence of background noise.

Trouble following and understanding conversations, especially when two people talk simultaneously.

Misunderstanding sentences and responding to the misunderstood words instead of the original words.

Thinking that most people mumble and asking them to repeat themselves often.

Constant complaints from others that the TV is turned on too loud.

What to Expect from the Doctor

The primary care or family physician will usually refer the patient to an otolaryngologist, who specialises in the ear, nose and throat and will try to find the physical cause for hearing loss. The otolaryngologist then refers the patient to an audiologist, who measures the extent of hearing loss and the frequencies most affected. Finally, the patient can be referred to a hearing aid specialist, who will fit the patient for hearing aids.

Some Common Causes of Hearing Loss

The most common cause of hearing loss in the elderly is presbycusis, or elderly-onset hearing loss. While no gene has been identified, presbycusis is anecdotally known to “run in families.” The other main cause is chronic exposure to loud noise. Rock musicians and airport workers are at the top of the list, with factory and nightclub workers close behind. Farmers and construction workers also show a high rate of hearing loss.

Other causes can be medicines, infections, heart trouble or strokes.

How Tall Trees Care Communities Help Their Residents Who Suffer from Hearing Loss

At Tall Trees Care Communities, their attentive and professional staff are all trained to know which residents suffer from hearing loss and to tell the signs of those who may not have yet been diagnosed.

According to Mr Usher, “Our staff is fully trained in all issues facing the elderly, including hearing loss. It’s an example of compassionate workers paying full attention to our residents. We always strive to provide the utmost in care and ensure that all special needs are met.”

Tall Trees Care Communities are an alternative to traditional aged care and assisted living facilities in the Brisbane area. They provide the finest in care while preserving the dignity and independence of their residents. For more information, call (07) 3442 9378 or visit their website: http://www.talltrees.net.au/.