In a worldwide report, UK adults have been found to be the worst culprits when it comes to looking after their hearing. 47% have never had a hearing test, compared to a global average of 31%.
Hearing loss in the UK
The research, commissioned by MED-EL to mark World Hearing Day (3rd March), shows that despite a lack of care for ear health lots of us deal with the consequences of hearing loss:
- People regularly ask others to repeat themselves (35%).
- A fifth (19%) have their TV/radio volume left on high and over one in ten (12%) use subtitles and audio-description.
- 42% saying that would be their biggest worry.
- 17% of people were worried about social isolation and hearing loss.
- Personal safety risks were big concerns for 16% of people.
- Almost half (44%) have had to apologise for not being able to hear someone.
- Over a third (37%) just smile and nod along to avoid any embarrassment.
Missing favourite sounds
When thinking about hearing loss, the sounds that people would miss the most if they lived with hearing loss included birds chirping (40%), music (20%) and the sound of a river running (20%).
Raising awareness gets personal
Colin, who now uses a cochlear implant, and his wife Jane often share their personal stories about life with hearing loss to encourage others to look after their own hearing as well as the hearing of family and friends.
“I lost my confidence as my hearing loss progressed over the years. It affected my work and I slowly became isolated as I withdrew from visiting friends or going out. I felt embarrassed asking Jane to repeat things that others said and I missed out on jokes.” Colin explained.
Things changed when Colin received a cochlear implant. His confidence increased and a world of sounds opened for him including being able to hear birds and running water, but importantly being able to talk to his family on the telephone again.
Colin volunteers as a HearPeers Mentor to support other people who are thinking about a cochlear implant for themselves or a loved one. Contact Colin on his HearPeers Mentor page to chat.
You can also read Colin’s latest article ‘How my cochlear implant helped me to become a Health Walk Leader’.