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World Hearing Day: UK is announced as the worst nation for having hearing tests

In a poll released today, Brits have been announced as the nation with the worst habits when it comes to getting hearing tests done for hearing loss.

Latest NewsA worldwide report with more than 12,000 respondents found that UK adults are the worst culprits when it comes to looking after their hearing – 47% have never had a hearing test while the global average is 31%.

Research summary into hearing loss

The research was commissioned by MED-EL – a global technology company that researches in the field of hearing loss and develops and manufactures implantable hearing systems.

The study was released to mark World Hearing Day (3rd March) and highlight the importance of looking after our own hearing as well as the hearing of family and friends. This comes after the survey also found that six in 10 Brits know someone who could be suffering from hearing loss issues.

Despite a clear lack of care for ear health, many people deal with the consequences of poor hearing on a day to day basis:

  • 35% of people regularly ask others to repeat themselves
  • 19% have their TV/radio volume left on high and almost one in 10 (12%) use subtitles and audio-description.
  • Almost half of Brits (47%) do not believe their hearing check-ups to be a priority – the highest throughout the world.

Frustration at communication difficulties came out on top as the biggest concern for those in the UK – along with the rest of the world – with 42% saying that would be their biggest worry. Social isolation and personal safety risks were also big concerns for 17% and 16% respectively.

Bad hearing has also led to many awkward moments for many. Being often considered a Brits favourite pastime:

  • 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.

For World Hearing Day, MED-EL is encouraging people to get their hearing checked as well as those around them and seek advice on daily behaviours that can lead to long term problems and impair hearing ability.

Patrick D’Haese at MED-EL says: “Our research reveals that Brits need to start taking action when it comes to hearing health. Hearing loss has a huge impact on daily life and we firmly believe that people shouldn’t just have to cope with or accept it.

We think nothing of getting keeping up with dentist appointments, so we encourage people to think the same way about getting their hearing checked regularly so any issues can be detected in a timely way and solutions can be explored. We also encourage friends and family to look out for the nearest and dearest if they suspect they’re struggling with hearing loss.”

What happens if you’re diagnosed with hearing loss?

Many people are worried about going for a hearing test in case they are diagnosed as deaf. However, being diagnosed with hearing loss should not be a barrier to a fulfilling life.

According to Action on Hearing Loss, there are 12 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK and it is expected to increase to 15 million by 2035.

You can continue to live a productive and active lifestyle with hearing loss with the right treatment, technology and support including:

  • hearing aids and implants
  • hearing loops
  • British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters
  • microphones, bluetooth devices and apps
  • captions and subtitles
  • hearing therapy
  • lipreading classes

To find out more about treatment, accessibility and support for hearing loss, visit the Live Well page on Action on Hearing Loss.

Do you live with hearing loss? Did having a hearing test make a difference in your quality of life? Share your stories in the comments box or on Facebook and Twitter.

By Emma Purcell

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Emma Purcell

Editor & Writer at Disability Horizons. Blogger at Rock For Disability. Loves live music, comedy, acting, chocolate and is a Harry Potter fanatic.
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