This week is 2018’s Deaf Awareness Week, aiming to raise awareness and challenge perceptions of hearing loss and deafness.
Action on Hearing Loss report 1 in 6 people in the UK have a hearing loss. 40% of people over 50 have a hearing loss and this rises to a prevalence of 71% in adults over 70.
Whilst we normally get our teeth checked every 6 months and our eyes tested once every year or 2, we often forget about our ears. We take our hearing for granted until we notice something is not as clear as it should be. It has been found that people wait an average of 7-10 years before seeking help for difficulty with hearing (Action on Hearing Loss).
Evidence has proven that getting your hearing checked and, if required, being fitted with hearing aids sooner rather than later, provides huge benefits by keeping the auditory nerve active, making it easier to adjust to hearing clearly again with hearing aids.
Recent research has found that an untreated hearing loss leads to a high prevalence of depression. This is because people with a hearing loss struggle to hear in group conversations and in background noise which leads to many withdrawing from social situations. Avoiding family gatherings or going to a restaurant or pub, where it is a lot harder to hear over the noise, leads to isolation. Being unable to hear clearly can lead to miscommunications between friends, colleagues and family members, resulting in stress, impacting on sleep and leading to higher blood pressure. This all negatively impacts on a person’s quality of life. However this is avoidable and there are a huge variety of options and possibilities to significantly improve a person’s hearing ability. Hearing aids and assistive listening devices are better than they have ever been and each year there are improvements made that make life easier.
If you are concerned about your hearing or you know someone who should get their hearing checked, encourage them to get their hearing tested, either with their local Audiologist or to see their GP for a referral to NHS Audiology Services.
To help someone you know with a hearing loss, communication tactics are key to help them understand what you are saying more easily.
Good communication tactics include:
* Getting the person’s attention before you speak.
* Facing the person when you speak to them to ensure they can see your lip pattern.
* Speak clearly and not too fast. You don’t have to speak too slowly as this can also make it difficult to determine what is being said – normal lip movements, facial expressions and gestures are best.
* Make sure what you’re saying is being understood – if it is not, try and rephrase what you are saying and simplify what you are saying (avoid waffle).
* Don’t shout! It is still uncomfortable to hear shouting despite a hearing loss for many people and this also distorts your lip pattern as you speak, making it harder to lip read.
To get your hearing checked and to discuss your hearing health, book a Hearing Screen (£19.99) or a Comprehensive Hearing Assessment to speak to one of our Audiologist’s at Click Hearing. You can book online here: or alternatively, call 01708 259863.