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Baby boomers

Among those Australians aged 55 years and older who suffer from hearing loss, only one out of 10 wears a hearing aid a study has found.

Baby boomers

Australian Hearing, the federal government agency behind the study, points out that many of the people affected could significantly improve their quality of life by using hearing aids. In many cases, help is available at no financial cost. For most Australian pensioners and veterans, even the latest digital technology is subsidized or accessible at no cost through the federal government.

The reasons for the high degree of untreated hearing loss vary from reluctance among the affected individuals to recognize their hearing impairment to common misperceptions about wearing hearing aids.

Impatient users

The study also indicated that some of Hearing Australia's clients stop using their hearing aids within the first few months because of a lack of immediate results.

"It's so important that people remain patient when wearing a device for the first time. The results will come," said Lee-Anne Sargeant, Hearing Australia senior audiologist. "Just like wearing bifocals, a hearing device is something that all senses need to get used to, which can take time. When fitted correctly, a hearing aid makes sounds and voices much easier for people to hear, allowing better communication with friends and family."

Australian Hearing has been helping people hear since 1947, when the federal government established the agency to help returned soldiers who suffered hearing damage during World War II. Today, its services are provided to aged pensioners, most war veterans and children under 21.

According to Hearing Australia, one in 10 Australians reports having a significant hearing loss. A South Australian study showed about 50 percent of people over the age of 60 can expect to have trouble with their hearing, and two out of three Australians in nursing homes have been found to have a significant hearing impairment.

Sources: Australian press reports; Australian Hearing

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