Irish rugby captain and Ulster player Rory Best today launches Specsavers’ ‘Don’t Suffer in Silence’, an audiology campaign that encourages Irish adults to take a more proactive approach to their hearing health.
New research, commissioned by Specsavers, reveals that almost half of Irish adults (47%) regularly worry about losing their hearing, yet only 25% of people would act quickly (within a week) if they noticed a change in their hearing.
An Irish role model, who struggles with his own hearing, Rory highlights the importance of taking a proactive approach to hearing loss. Hearing loss affects around one in six Irish adults, yet the main reason people cite for not having regular hearing tests is that they believed their hearing to be fine. In actual fact, hearing loss can be gradual, and many people may not notice they are struggling.
At the launch, Rory says: ‘At times I struggle with my hearing. Luckily it doesn’t affect me on the pitch, but because my hearing is so incredibly important to my career, from communicating with my teammates to listening out for the ref’s call, I am incredibly mindful of my hearing and am very proactive about prioritising it as part of my overall health check. Even though I’m in my 30s, I regularly get my hearing checked and would encourage my friends and family to be as proactive as they can be.’
Rory continues: ‘I find that I can at times struggle with background noise in smaller spaces, when I’m having a conversation with someone and there’s a TV on in the background or the kids are running around so I am mindful of it but thankfully I don’t have a major issue but I would strongly suggest that anyone who has any problems with their hearing goes to get it checked. Without treatment, hearing loss can lead to depression, frustration, anxiety and social isolation and that’s no way to live, not when today hearing aids are so minute and high tech.’
A third of people (33%) claim they would be less inclined to go to social events in fear they would not be able to hear people properly. On a positive note, Rory stresses that the speed of deterioration and the effects can often be reduced with hearing protection and early intervention. Hearing aids work to enhance your existing hearing so early detection and intervention are crucial. Untreated hearing loss can have far-reaching implications beyond hearing and has been linked to feelings of depression, frustration and anxiety. He says: ‘I don’t know what I’d do without my hearing. I rely on it so much, not only from a professional aspect but also from a personal aspect. Friends and family are a huge part of my life, I’d be lost if I wasn’t able to hear their news and stories.
‘One of the reasons I came on board with this campaign is that only recently I have been encouraging my own parents to have their hearing checked. My father has hearing loss and is currently addressing the issue with the help of the fantastic team of audiologists at Specsavers. I’d encourage all family members to be mindful of their parents and grandparent’s hearing health and encourage them to visit Specsavers Audiologists if they have any concerns. Hearing loss can be such a lonely condition, but it doesn’t need to be. They might not notice the signs, but we can.’
Regular Hearing Checks
At Specsavers, customers are encouraged to take a proactive approach to their hearing health and it offers free hearing screenings and a consultation with a qualified audiologist at all Specsavers hearing centres across the country.Specsavers audiologist Jeff Walbran says: ‘Like all parts of our body, our ears are susceptible to ageing and deterioration, which is why it’s important to get regular hearing checks. In particular, those over the age of 55 should have their hearing tested every two years. Because of the slow progression of hearing loss, it frequently goes unnoticed and can take up to 10 years before the problem is identified.’
On a positive note, attitudes towards wearing hearing aids seem to be shifting with the vast majority of those surveyed, with (92%) saying that they would prefer to wear them if it was recommended. Some 84% agree that hearing aids can drastically improve your standard of life. However, fears relating to appearance (20%), cost (62%) and how people believe they age you (31%) are among the biggest deterrents to wearing hearing aids.
Jeff Walbran adds: ‘Common misconceptions around hearing aids can discourage people from initially seeking treatment and wearing the devices. The truth is that modern hearing aids are discreet, can improve both hearing loss and overall quality of life, but are also cost effective at Specsavers. We have an extensive range of hearing aids featuring the newest innovations, with highly trained hearing healthcare professionals that will help you pick the right device for you. With PRSI benefits, cost doesn’t need to be a major concern.’
Specsavers Audiologist stores are managed by a qualified audiologist and highly-trained staff. Each store boasts hi-tech facilities and sells quality hearing aids at great prices. All Specsavers digital hearing aids are sold as part of a complete hearing package. From the starting price of €750, this includes:
- A hearing check
- Two digital hearing aids
- Aftercare for life
- Four years’ supply of batteries (Excludes rechargeable hearing aids, which come with either appropriate charger unit or rechargeable batteries)
- Choice of fitting styles
- 90-day money-back guarantee
- Four-year warranty
Specsavers’ comprehensive hearing service includes impartial and expert advice, fitting and aftercare.
*The nationally representative survey was conducted in March 2019 by Empathy Research through an online omnibus survey. A sample size of 1,000 was achieved with quotas set on gender, age, social class and region to achieve a sample aligned with national population.