By Lauren McNee, Audiologist and Clinical Trainer at Audika
Most people are familiar with the five basic senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch – and how important they are in allowing us to experience the world to the fullest. Yet, a recent survey by Audika has revealed that Australians are neglectful when it comes to looking after their hearing – revealing that 88% of respondents over the age of 40, were more concerned about their eyesight fading, than experiencing hearing loss1. Almost one third (34%) of survey respondents admitted that they were likely hard of hearing but had never been tested or sought treatment1.
It’s clear that Australians aren’t aware of the very serious daily impacts of hearing loss, or of the potential long-term health conditions associated with not managing it.
It’s a scary thought given how common hearing loss is. One in two Australians over the age of 60 are estimated to be affected by hearing loss2, and it is estimated that 879,700 people aged between 26-64 are living with undiagnosed hearing loss in Australia3.
Interestingly, a recent survey by Audika indicated that the stigma around wearing hearing aids is a significant factor that’s holding people back from seeking treatment.
Out of the respondents who don’t “always” wear hearing aids, more than half (51%) said that they would avoid wearing a hearing aid for as long as possible, even if they were diagnosed with hearing loss. A whopping 42% of respondents who said this, advised it was because they thought wearing a hearing aid would make them feel self-conscious or embarrassed, and a further 35% in this group said it was because it would make them look old1.
In my 15 years as an audiologist, there has been a significant transformation when it comes to hearing aids on the market. Modern hearing aids are discreet, innovative and may boast technological benefits such as Bluetooth orthe ability to allow hands free phone calls. Unfortunately, the perception of them as bulky, daggy, or necessary items has not changed. It’s this perception that often holds people back from getting the support they need.
As one of our five senses, the quality of our hearing is incredibly important to our overall health and wellbeing. It’s not something that should be neglected and can be easily checked. With greater awareness of the impacts of hearing loss and the modern solutions available to treat it —we can all be more proactive with our hearing and live healthier lives.
For those over the age of 26, hearing checks at Audika are free of charge, and for efficiency, people can access online options such as Audika’s free five-minute online hearing check via www.audika.com.au.