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Age-related hearing loss affects about two-thirds of older adults.

Since hearing loss is highly prevalent in older adults, pa­tients are often told “your hearing is normal for your age,” or “you’ll have to learn to accept and deal with your hearing loss.” However, research studies suggest that hearing loss has a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. It is associated with numerous health issues, including accelerated cognitive decline, depression, increased risk of dementia, poorer balance, falls, hospitalizations, and early mor­tality. For these reasons, there is in­creased awareness that hearing loss is not only a medical problem but also a public health concern. Therefore, early detection and treatment of hearing loss is essential. Most age-related hearing loss can be helped with amplification (hearing aids and assistive devices such as amplifiers for the phone and TV ) along with education and counsel­ling (e.g., increasing knowledge, changing attitudes, and re­ducing stigma), support in promoting behavior change (e.g., adapting communication strategies), and environmental modifi­cations (e.g., reducing noise).

The Hearing Services department at Baycrest offers a comprehensive range of assessment and rehabilitation options for older adults with hearing loss, and specializes in addressing the communication problems and needs of seniors.

The Hearing Services team was also participating in a ground-breaking research study investigating if treating hearing loss in people with dementia can improve the quality of their lives and those of their family members and caregivers. It is hoped that this knowledge will improve the lives of seniors with hearing loss and dementia, help reduce the burden of their caregivers, and contribute new knowledge to audiologic rehabilitation and cognitive science. Recently, Baycrest Hearing Services has been funded for another research study examining the provision of a community-based hearing rehabilitation program for at-risk seniors. This project proposes to deliver and evaluate a new model of accessible, cost-effective hearing health care to seniors with untreated hearing loss who would not normally seek access to care through existing channels, with the objective of promoting healthy aging through enhanced communication, social participation and improved quality of life.

Our goal is to provide a consistent high level of professional service with complete hearing care services based on current research throughout the patient experience.

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Older adults should take hearing loss seriously. Hearing loss is a common problem faced by older adults but is often left untreated.

At least one in four adults over the age of 50 experience hearing problems, but it’s shocking that it takes an average of 10 years before people seek treatment. Even then, less than 20 per cent of them will use hearing aids in their day-to-day lives.