Audiologists preparing for World Hearing Day
To coincide with World Hearing Day on Friday 03 March, Specsavers Audiologists are highlighting the importance of regular hearing tests for maintaining hearing health. World Hearing Day aims to raise awareness and promote ear and hearing care across the world. The theme for this year’s event is ‘Action for hearing loss: make a sound investment’.
A recent national survey commissioned by Specsavers revealed that a worrying 69%* of the population have not had their hearing tested in the last five years, despite the fact that hearing loss affects 1 in 6 Irish adults.
The main reason cited for not getting regular hearing tests is that 66% believe that they do not require one as their hearing is fine. This is particularly worrying considering hearing loss can be gradual and not immediately noticed by the person affected. The speed of deterioration and effects can often be reduced with prevention, which can be discussed at a hearing test with your local Specsavers.
Specsavers audiologist Rory Perry said: ‘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.
Hearing aids work to enhance your existing hearing so early detection and intervention is crucial. Untreated hearing loss can have far-reaching implications beyond hearing and has been linked to feelings of depression, frustration and anxiety.
Avoidance of social situations
Specsavers survey also found that 38% of Irish adults would avoid certain social situations if they were diagnosed with hearing loss due to difficulties in being able to hear clearly and to avoid embarrassment at asking people to repeat themselves. These feelings can often be minimalised with hearing aids. At Specsavers customers are encouraged to take a proactive approach to their hearing health and can avail of free hearing screenings and a consultation with a qualified audiologist at all Specsavers hearing centres across the country.
On a positive note, attitudes towards wearing hearing aids seems to be shifting with the vast majority of those surveyed (90%) saying that they would wear them if it was recommended. Some 57% view hearing aids as helpful devices that improve hearing however, fears relating to appearance (41%), cost (34%) and stigma (25%) remain the three biggest deterrents to wearing hearing aids.
Hearing loss is one of the most common conditions affecting older people and while there is a resistance to get hearing tested and acknowledge hearing loss, 73% of adults over 65 years of age claim that it is in their top three most feared aspects of ageing. The most common fear amongst all age groups is illness (64%). Almost one in five (18%) admitted to worrying about their physical appearance as they age including tooth loss, balding / thinning hair, weight gain, greying hair and having to wear glasses and 18% fear loneliness.
For further information or to make an appointment visit www.specsavers.ie/hearing
*The nationally representative survey was conducted in November 2016 by Empathy Research through an online omnibus survey.