Griffith residents are being urged to have their hearing checked, even if they don't think they have any immediate problems.
As part of Hearing Awareness Week, local audiometrist Michelle Kelly from Connect Hearing is reminding people to not ignore the possibility of hearing loss.
"Hearing loss is a way bigger issue in Griffith than even I know about, because most people are leaving it seven to ten years too long to do anything about it," Mrs Kelly said.
"People don't know what they're not hearing, because they can't hear it."
Mrs Kelly said anyone over the age of 50 who hasn't had a hearing test should "definitely" get one.
"It only takes 15 minutes to have the test and explain the results," she said.
"Even if you don't need hearing aids right away, it is so helpful to have that baseline in case something does happen to your hearing in the future."
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According to the Department of Health, about 3.6 million people across Australia suffer from hearing loss, and more than 1.3 million of them live with a hearing condition which could have been prevented.
As well as simply making day to day life more difficult, hearing loss can also have profound impacts on someone's mental health and their relationships with friends and family, Mrs Kelly said.
She said repeatedly mishearing or accidentally ignoring people can cause rifts in relationships and not being able to hear can cause people to be excluded from conversations.
"Depression is a really big thing with people with hearing loss, because they can feel invisible to other people because they're always left out of the conversations."
Mrs Kelly said people in Griffith often wait far too long before getting their hearing checked which can cause some problems down the line.
"There is a big connection between hearing loss and dementia and alzheimers, it's all processed in the same part of the brain," she said.
"So if you've got hearing loss that is untreated for a long time it exacerbates all those other issues."
People don't know what they're not hearing, because they can't hear it.Michelle Kelly, Connect Hearing Griffith
According to Mrs Kelly, hearing aid technogy is "incredibly advanced nowadays", meaning there has never been a better time to get your hearing checked.
"Your hearing aids know if you're walking or if you're standing still. They can be connected to your phone and you don't even need to touch the hearing aid, you can just tap your ear twice and say 'hey Siri call Greg'."
Many hearing centres offer free hearing tests, including Connect Hearing in Griffith.
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