Recent continuing professional development events have highlighted the evolving landscape in hearing healthcare towards a much more person and family centred model of care.  Savvy Audiology is particularly pleased to see the process of ageing and its impact on sensory loss discussed, taking into account linguistic and cognitive variables of the individual when older persons present in our audiology clinics. Dementia and audiology is a further ‘hot topic’ – certainly worthy of debate when the evidence shows us that every three seconds there is a new diagnosis of this condition.  Dementia is a progressive cognitive disorder which affects each individual in a different way.  Symptoms will vary depending on which area of the brain is affected.  Dementia Australia actively engages with people who suffer from the different types of dementia, learning from these individuals the different ways in which it affects functional abilities, how it creates loneliness, fear and anxiety, but also how the disease affects other people,many of whom know very little about the condition.  Dementia has a significant impact on communication particularly as the disease progresses.

Similarly, hearing loss can cause communication breakdown.  It can negatively impact on relationships, attempts to be socially engaged and the enjoyment of music.  In an ageing individual, the consequences of a hearing loss can be exacerbated by a multitude of comorbidities such as vision impairment, mobility issues, chronic pain, poor balance and polypharmacy.  As such, addressing hearing problems sooner rather than later is recommended.  Savvy Audiology hopes that through education and respect for individual differences,  people living with hearing loss will be able to maintain independence and manage the disability better, by being well informed and encouraged to focus on what they can do rather than what cannot be done.  Sensory loss is irreversible.  However, how one manages this type of impairment is constantly evolving.  The audiologist has a pivotal role in designing effective auditory rehabilitation programs and ensuring optimal use and management of hearing devices.