Hearing loss is a gradual or sudden decrease in an individual’s ability to hear (1). Common causes of hearing loss are noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and the aging process (2). More than 30% of Canadians over 65 years of age are living with some degree of hearing loss (2).
Unmanaged hearing loss can negatively impact one’s quality of life. Due to the communication difficulties it can create, an individual may avoid social interaction (2). Older adults with unmanaged hearing loss have an increased risk of cognitive decline and developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia (3). There is also a greater possibility of falling in older adults living with hearing loss (3).
There are many assistive devices that compensate for hearing loss and can improve communication and quality of life. Hearing aids are electronic instruments worn in or behind the ear to provide louder and clearer sound for the wearer (1). In Ontario, hearing aids must be purchased from a vendor registered with the Assistive Devices Program (ADP) (4). The ADP will reimburse those eligible recipients 75% of the cost including dispensing fee, ear molds and accessories to a maximum of:
$500 of the cost of one hearing aid
$1,000 for two hearing aids (4).
Other devices include telephones with loud ringers or a flashing light, televisions with captioning features or doorbells that flash when rung (2).