Is it time to get a hearing check?
Is it time to get a hearing check?

Hearing loss more common than people think

IF YOU think the volume on the TV is getting lower, maybe it’s your hearing that’s the problem.

New research by Specsavers released last week found that 1514, or 20 per cent of Ballina and Lismore region residents aged 40 and over have experienced some hearing loss in the last three years.

Of those Ballina and Lismore region residents, more than 40 who have suffered hearing loss, 833 individuals chose to leave their hearing loss untreated despite help being available to them.

“There’s a perception that hearing loss is only experienced by the elderly, but the research shows it is also affecting generations before, with a large portion of those being aged in their 40s and 50s,” Specsavers Ballina and Lismore region Audiology Professional Jacqui Wilson said.

“We know that on average, it takes Australians 7-10 years to acknowledge they have hearing loss before taking action so we are encouraging Ballina and Lismore region locals to be vigilant about hearing checks to make sure they receive the support they need, when they need it.

“When it comes to hearing health, prevention is best so watch out for signs of hearing loss because some conditions are better treated when diagnosed early so you cannot only avoid the physical problem but also the emotional toll that comes with it.

“Poor hearing can push people to withdraw from social scenarios or even cause severe stress as they find it hard to communicate with others.”

Ms Wilson said the research also revealed:

  • Of men aged 40 and over, nearly a quarter (24 per cent) have had some hearing loss in the last three years compared to women of the same age at 15 per cent
  • 56 per cent of Australians over the age of 40 have not had their hearing checked in the last three years

Ms Wilson recommends that Australians need to take the following preventive measures to protect their hearing:

1. When exposed to loud noise, choose to wear personal hearing protection when possible, such as earplugs, earmuffs or both

2. Reduce the number of different noises at any one time. Simultaneous conversations as well as loud music can place undue strain on your ears

3. Do a quick test to assess the noise when using items such as lawnmowers, leaf blowers and power tools by using the ‘one metre rule’. If you need to raise your voice to talk to someone about one metre away, you can assume the sound level is likely to be hazardous to hearing

If you know someone who you think may be hard of hearing or you are worried about your own hearing loss, book a free 15-minute hearing check with a local audiology professional at Specsavers by visiting www.specsavers.com.au/hearing.