Imagine a world without sound. Not being able to hear conversations with your loved ones. Missing what the waitress says when she takes your order. Not hearing music clearly and getting to the point where people choose not to speak to you rather than repeat themselves. This might seem hard to imagine but if you have hearing loss, this is a reality.
A recent survey carried out by Hidden Hearing found that a massive 90% of friends and family say they have noticed a loved one’s hearing loss. So why aren’t we doing anything about it? Hidden Hearing believe that many people are in denial and embarrassed about their hearing loss. This makes it a difficult conversation to have with friends and family. In fact, in the survey of people with hearing loss and their relatives, nearly three-quarters (67%), said they believed their loved one was in denial.
It’s often friends and family who notice hearing loss before an individual, who may not even be aware that their hearing has deteriorated. There are other health reasons for having a hearing test, but it often takes people over 50, seven years to get tested. Hearing loss can eventually lead to social isolation or depression, both of which have been linked to an increased risk of dementia. Staying socially connected could lower the risk of dementia in later life.
Despite research and recent news showing a link between hearing loss and dementia, awareness of the link is low, while seven in 10 people surveyed (63%) feel socially isolated as a result of their hearing loss.
Dr Laura Philips from Alzheimer’s Research UK said, “This research shows that, just like dementia, hearing loss still carries a stigma, and it’s clear that efforts to remove this stigma are vital to tackling both conditions. These results suggest that we need to find ways of talking about hearing loss with our loved ones”.
Hidden Hearing are doing all they can to smash the stigma surrounding hearing loss and helping people to live a happy, healthy life by offering everyone in the UK a free hearing test.
Dr Hilary Jones launched the national Campaign for Better Hearing on World Hearing Day by urging everyone over the age of 55 to have an annual hearing test. World Hearing Day is organised by the World Health Organisation and is held each year to raise awareness on how to prevent deafness and hearing loss and promote ear and hearing care across the world.
Dr Hilary said, “It still surprises me to think that people will routinely have their eyes tested and have no reservation about wearing glasses, but there still remains a stigma around having a hearing test and wearing a hearing aid.
Addressing a hearing problem can be like switching life back on again, enabling you to get back to doing things you may have started to avoid. I am no exception and I routinely have my hearing tested each year. I urge everyone to do the same”.
If you have had friends and family comment on your hearing or you find yourself turning up the volume while watching television or listening to the radio, it might be time to book a hearing test.
I went along to the launch of the Campaign for Better Hearing and had my hearing tested. It was a simple test that took only a few minutes but gave me so much peace of mind. Thankfully my hearing was fine, but it did make me realise that I should have this test scheduled in the same way I do an eye test.
Many people assume that hearing loss is an inevitable fact of ageing and that couldn’t be helped. Hidden Hearing is on a mission to change this thinking and to help people live full and sociable lives. They are the modern hearing care experts with 290 locations in the UK. Hidden Hearing has over 60,000 customers and carries out 105,000 hearing tests every year. Let’s help smash the stigma and encourage our friends and family to have their hearing tested every year.