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As an audiologist, Charlotte Chappell, from Boots Hearingcare, is all too aware of the signs of hearing loss and the importance of having regular health checks.
She said: “Being proactive about the health of your ears supports your physical and mental health.”
While hearing tests are good for distinguishing hearing loss, they could also help identify the cause of a number of conditions, including depression and dementia.
According to the American Academy of Audiology, hearing loss can make it more difficult to interact with peers and can lead to decreased social engagement, depression or bad moods.
And the risk of getting dementia has been found to almost double if you have treated mild hearing loss.
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With moderate hearing loss, the risk of dementia triples, and with severe untreated hearing loss you are five times more likely to develop dementia.
Charlotte said: “Hearing loss and dementia are both conditions that can become more likely as we get older, and in recognition of this link, all audiologists at Boots Hearingcare are trained as ‘Dementia Friends’, to increase their understanding of how to support those living with the disease.
“In our clinics, we routinely see the impact hearing loss can have on the health and wellbeing of those who are struggling, as well as their friends and family members.
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“Hearing loss can make it more tiring to communicate in day-to-day situations, leading to increased fatigue, headaches, and irritability.
“It can lead to people withdrawing from social situations they previously enjoyed, as it can make them feel isolated and unable to take part in conversation.
“Seeing an audiologist is beneficial even if you don’t feel you have any difficulty with your ears or hearing, so we can get a benchmark of your hearing in case of future changes and can better advise you on your hearing health.”
Dementia is not a natural part of ageing, and sadly there’s currently no cure for the condition.
The NHS lists symptoms as having problems with:
- memory loss
- thinking speed
- mental sharpness and quickness
- language, such as using words incorrectly, or trouble speaking
- difficulties doing daily activities
Early diagnosis means its progress can be slowed down in some cases, so the person may be able to maintain their mental function for longer.
If someone you know is becoming increasingly forgetful, encourage them to see a GP to talk about the early signs of dementia.
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