How much do you know about Hearing Awareness Month in the UK? It’s a nationwide campaign, organized by healthcare company Hidden Hearing, that is urging people to get themselves regularly checked and to have treatment where necessary. The campaign is especially focused the over-50s, who are the most likely to be affected by some kind of hearing difficulty.
Free screenings, and useful advice, are provided by Hidden Hearing, which is backed by Dr Hilary Jones.
It has been estimated that around 10 million people in the UK suffer from hearing loss to some extent, over 60% of whom are aged 65 and over. And around 800,000 of us are either severely or profoundly deaf. The really sad part, though, is that on average it takes a person about ten years to address their hearing problems, which is pretty shocking when you consider the havoc it can cause with our lives: mentally, physically, professionally and emotionally.
When someone begins to lose their hearing, they may feel awkward in some social situations, meaning they lose out on quality of life. For instance, they could avoid going to places such as restaurants, concerts or football matches where they can’t hear conversation or feel intimidated by the loud atmosphere. They can start to rely on a few people, often close friends or family members, to help them with their daily lives, which puts a great deal of strain on relationships and means that, should that help become unavailable, their ability to function in society can become severely restricted.
Without adequate treatment, loss of hearing can quickly lead to social isolation, depression and anxiety. It can also bring on problems with work, such as in interviews or telephone conversations.
The irony is that the majority of hearing problems are actually quite easily dealt with, and often reversible given the right course of action. Sometimes it may be something as simple as having a build-up of wax removed, or sometimes a hearing aid may be required. Action on Hearing Loss believes that of the two million people in Britain with hearing aids, only 1.4 million actually use them, while another four million people who don’t currently have one, could benefit substantially.
So the need to get hearing difficulties promptly checked and sorted out is obvious. But so many people choose to either ignore their problem, out of embarrassment or other reasons, that it’s really important to hold an Awareness Month. It will bring these facts about hearing loss to as wide an audience as possible, and hopefully improve life for a lot of people who are currently suffering in silence.
In the vast majority of cases, hearing loss is caused by experiencing too much loud noise.
The hair cells in the inner ear become damaged and stop functioning, and it is usually irreversible. So, another great thing about Hearing Awareness Month is that as well as helping existing sufferers, it will provide plenty of useful advice to people on how to avoid that happening to them.
If you’re having problems with your hearing, or wondering whether it’s time to get yourself checked out, it’s always worth talking to a specialist. Hearing tests are pain-free, quick, and cost very little, and they could dramatically improve your quality of life!