Hearing Awareness Month: 20,000 free hearing screenings set for September


Backed by the GP and broadcaster Dr Hilary Jones, the top UK hearing specialist Hidden Hearing aims to raise awareness of audial problems by launching Hearing Awareness Month.

Hearing Awareness Month

Hidden Hearing has helped set up a roadshow that will spend September travelling around Britain providing thousands of free hearing screenings. Expert audiologists will offer advice to people suffering hearing problems, and to anyone who knows somebody else with similar hearing issues.

Dr Jones said that of the 10 million people who suffer from poor hearing, at least 4 million are undiagnosed cases. Many will have been affected by noise, with noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) occurring when the sound entering the human auditory system is too loud and intense.

"Our aim is to reach those members of the public who would benefit from a hearing aid by providing 20,000 free screenings throughout September," Dr Jones said.

New research carried out by Hidden Hearing has revealed that nearly half (49%) of the population admit they 'switch off' within the first half-minute of a conversation, with 25% of men acknowledging that they switch off in the first 10 seconds when talking with their partners.

Unsurprisingly, switching-off provenly creates discord and arguments, with topics of conversation which cause attention to wander varying with gender. For example, men are often found to switch off when a female partner is talking about thoughts, feelings and gossip, although it is unrecorded whether women show a similar disdain for conversations about cricket.

Despite this, a mid-chat switch-off need not signify a less-than-exciting verbal exchange. But it could mean hearing loss to a degree which affects 10 million people in the UK.

"There is a big difference between switching off because something is uninteresting and being hard of hearing", said Hidden Hearing's Peter Sydserff, an audiologist. "Hearing loss can have a huge impact on a person's social and private life, often leaving them feeling isolated and unable to join in with life, but this is not something people need to put up with; expert advice and a simple free hearing screening can fix all that."

The impact of hearing loss on the quality of daily life can be substantial. 41% of people surveyed by Hidden Hearing said they felt they are 'missing out on life', with 10% believing they would 'avoid social situations all together'.

21% said that hearing loss negatively affected their social lives, while for 41% large group socialising was said to be 'uncomfortable'. 1 third (33%) said that hearing loss affected them negatively in the workplace and 1 fifth (21%) felt the same at home.

Hearing loss clearly has adverse effects on the daily routine for many. It is surprising, therefore, that only around 1 in 10 seek help from the point at which hearing loss has started to show itself.

In this, women have done better than men, with 13% of women waiting 5 years or more before reporting symptoms, compared with 1 in 5 of the opposite sex. And 15% of all those surveyed by Hidden Hearing admitted they delayed getting professional help for 10 years.

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