May is Better Hearing and Speech Month and this annual event provides an opportunity to raise awareness about hearing and speech problems and Hidden Hearing is encouraging the Irish public to think about their own hearing and get their hearing checked.
Early identification and intervention for hearing loss is of the utmost importance. Many people live with unidentified hearing loss, often failing to realise that they are missing certain sounds and words. Checking one’s hearing is the first step toward addressing the issue.
According to the World Health Organization’s first World Report on Hearing
- Noise is now being acknowledged as an important public health issue and a top environmental risk faced by the world today.
- Over 50% of people aged 12–35 years listen to music via personal audio devices at volumes that pose a risk to their hearing.
- A rule of the thumb for staying safe is to keep the volume below 60%.
- If you frequently use personal audio devices around loud sounds: instead of turning the volume up, consider using noise cancelling earphones or headphones.
- Listening through personal audio devices should not exceed 80 dB (adults) or 75 dB (sensitive users: e.g., children) for 40 hours a week.
- Listeners who regularly use portable audio devices can expose themselves to the same level of sound in 15 minutes of music at 100 dB that an industrial worker would receive in an 8-hour day at 85 dB
A simple hearing test is often the first step to helping you rediscover sounds you may not even realise you’ve been missing.
Hearing loss frequently goes undetected and untreated in most adults and can lead to social isolation, depression and potential safety issues, says Dolores Madden, Head of Marketing for Hidden Hearing.
Dolores is sharing the important message for Irish people to Love their Ear and put it on their self-care list.
“In most cases, hearing loss happens gradually but over time, it can add up to very severe hearing loss,” Madden says. “On average, it takes seven to 10 years from when someone first starts noticing some difficulty to get a hearing test and address their hearing loss.”
Denial is the most common reason why people delay getting a hearing test. “Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma that hearing loss is related to aging and old age,” says Dolores. “Aging and prolonged noise exposure are the most common causes of hearing loss, but it’s often the result of a combination of factors, such as illness, some medications and/or genetics.”
“Some people are just more predisposed to develop hearing loss than others,” she says. “But today’s hearing aids are so tiny and discreet that most people are not going to notice that you have one. They will, however, notice when you ask them to repeat themselves or misunderstand them.”
Next generation hearing aids
Innovative technologies like those featured in Oticon Real hearing aids allow you to comfortably enjoy sound again. “The technology supports the user’s brain so they can engage and participate in conversations in a variety of different listening environments with less effort and optimal comfort,” Madden explains.
Oticon Real has a deep neural network – a type of machine learning that mimics the way the brain learns – that identifies and balances each sound within 12 million real life sound scenes, like a restaurant, train station and busy street. In short, that means you can access the sounds most important to you.
Top tips to prevent hearing loss
Remember, you can prevent hearing loss by limiting exposure to loud sounds and if you already have hearing loss or are experiencing pain, discomfort or ringing in the ears, you can take steps to keep it from getting worse.
- If you’re in a place where you need to shout to make yourself heard, for instance, you need hearing protection such as earplugs or noise-cancelling earmuffs.
- Don’t listen to headphones for a long time.
- Turn the volume down and take periodic breaks from the noise.
- Take into account the 60/60 rule – listen to audio for no longer than 60 minutes at 60 decibels
Hidden Hearing is Ireland’s longest-established exclusive hearing care specialist, with over 35 years’ experience. Free hearing tests and free sample hearing aids are available at over 80 local clinics across Ireland. Infection protocols remain in place for the utmost patient care, so visitors can attend appointments in safety and confidence.
See www.hiddenhearing.ie or free-call 1800 882 884.