Approximately 4 million people experience some form of hearing loss but don’t benefit from a hearing aid – in fact most wait up to 15 years before seeking help. Even mild hearing loss can make everyday tasks more challenging and can create frustration and a sense of isolation. Not hearing information is often attributed to selective hearing - 61% surveyed by David Ormerod Hearing Centres believe their partner has selective hearing – in reality, this can often be undiagnosed hearing loss.
People who have difficulties with their vision would take an eye test and hearing difficulties should be taken just as seriously. January is 'Hearing Clearer Awareness Month', which is aimed at helping people identify whether they have hearing loss rather than the ability to ignore certain sounds through a form of selected hearing. The annual campaign has been established by David Ormerod Hearing Centres to encourage people to take a free five-minute hearing test.
Christmas can be a challenging period for people who are struggling with their hearing because they are typically in more social situations with friends and family, which can bring extra attention to their hearing difficulties. January is therefore the perfect time to educate people about what can be done to improve their hearing - or the hearing of a loved one - and encourage them to make a new year’s resolution to get their hearing tested.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
As part of Hearing Clearer Awareness Month, people are being encouraged to take a free five minute hearing test at one of the many David Ormerod Hearing Centres nationwide.
HEARING AWARENESS SURVEY
A survey of 4,000 people, conducted by David Ormerod Hearing Centres, revealed that:
o Eight out of ten people – 48 million Brits - have never had their hearing tested compared to just one in ten that have never had an eye examination
o 60% have a friend or relative that they believe has undiagnosed hearing loss
o 80% find it frustrating when they can’t hear something properly
o 80% would support a national hearing test screening programme
o 31% are discouraged from getting their hearing tested due to lack of time
o 26% would turn up their MP3 player/iPod as loud as possible and only half of us consider hearing when setting the volume.
IMPACT OF HEARING LOSS
Hearing and quality of life are closely linked. Hearing loss can make everyday tasks more challenging and day-to-day communication extremely difficult. It can make people feel cut off from their family and friends and create a sense of frustration and a loss of confidence.
WHO IS AFFECTED BY HEARING LOSS?
Hearing loss can occur for many different reasons, from conditions people are born with to hearing damage caused by prolonged exposure to loud noises. It’s a problem typically associated with ageing - 40% of people over the age of 50 have some degree of hearing loss. However, new research by the EU concluded that one in 10 people with personal MP3 or CD players could suffer permanent hearing loss because their music is too loud.
PROTECTING AGAINST PERSONAL MUSIC PLAYER RELATED HEARING LOSS
Heather Pitchford, an audiologist at David Ormerod Hearing Centres offers this advice:
1) Don’t listen to music at full volume
2) Buy in-ear filter headphones that cancel out background noise so you don’t have to turn up the volume too high on your MP3
3) Don’t listen to music through headphones for more than an hour at a time
4) Rest your ears for as long as possible before listening to your music
IDENTIFYING HEARING LOSS
It isn’t always easy to spot because sound can initially become distorted rather than quieter.
These questions could help you establish whether you could benefit from a hearing assessment:
• Are you constantly asking people to repeat themselves?
• Do others complain that you have the volume turned up too high on the TV?
• Do people always seem to be mumbling when they talk to you?
• Do you have trouble hearing the doorbell or telephone?
• Do you find it easier to follow a conversation if you are looking directly at the person speaking to you and do you find it hard to follow a conversation in a group?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then it is worth booking a hearing test. If you have already had a hearing test or have a hearing aid, it is advisable to arrange a check-up every twelve months as hearing requirements change with time.
Hearing aids are now more technically advanced, discreet and attractive and can help more complicated types of hearing loss than ever before. The newest hearing aid technology has the ability to filter out background noise so personal conversations can be heard clearer, allow quick and automatic adjustments to correspond with changing environments, and reduce feedback when using the telephone.
Hearing tests are available on the NHS but there is a good chance you’ll have to wait. Research by the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists revealed that the average wait is 47 weeks. High-street hearing aid audiologists are filling this gap, offering a faster service, better technology and more extensive aftercare. At David Ormerod Hearing Centres you can now get a free five-minute hearing assessment if you think you might have hearing loss. A longer more in-depth hearing assessment could then be needed if you have a hearing loss in order to determine the solutions best suited to your own personal requirements. To book a five-minute assessment or for a free Essential Information Pack simply call 0845 072 0868. Visit www.davidormerod.co.uk for further information.
For more information, case studies, expert interviews please contact Hannah Foster, David Greenwood or Michelle Eastty at Pegasus Public Relations at 01903 821550
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