How hearing loss affects social wellbeing

10 June 2022
The Age Featured Article on Audiology

A good audiologist will take a big-picture approach to managing a client’s hearing health.

Fay noticed it first. Her husband Grant was starting to withdraw socially. When conversations were happening, he was no longer joining in. It wasn’t that he was uninterested, he was having increasing difficulty hearing what was being said and felt disengaged as a result. Grant’s not alone. One in six Australians over the age of 60 years experiences some form of hearing loss – but only a third of those will seek help.

“We know that it often takes people four years of living with hearing loss, and its impacts, before stepping foot inside an audiologist’s office,” says audiologist Elizabeth Baldwin. In discussing the prevalence of undertreated hearing loss, Baldwin quotes the World Health Organisation’s definition of health. “It’s not merely the absence of disease, but a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing. As an audiologist, I see how hearing health can impact wellbeing from all of those dimensions,” she says.

For Grant, it was his social wellbeing that was suffering, which was why Fay booked him an appointment at Expression Audiology. “Grant had a moderate hearing loss in both ears and appears to have been living with this degree of loss for a few years now,” explains Baldwin, manager of Expression Audiology. As a part of Expression Australia, they have been providing unbiased, independent advice for the hard of hearing and deaf communities since 1884, when they were first called the Victorian Deaf Society.

Read more of this article in the latest copy of The Age.