March 3 is World Hearing Day. Organised by the World Health Organization (WHO), the campaign aims to promote information and actions that we can implement to prevent hearing loss, as well as the steps that individuals and organisations can take to improve hearing care.
The WHO estimate that it can take 9–10 years between people first developing a hearing loss and finally seeking treatment. And in that time, hearing loss can have a dramatic impact on almost every aspect of your life. Work life, relationships and social lives can all be negatively affected by hearing loss.
Recent research1 found that of all patients who spoke to a doctor about their hearing concerns, 62% opted to talk to a GP first and 38% to an ear (ENT) doctor. The research also found that the majority who have had their hearing tested in the past five years were tested by either an ENT or family doctor.
What many people don’t realise, however, is that you don’t need to see a GP or join an NHS waiting list to get a hearing test or speak to an audiologist. Audiology appointments and advice are available free of charge on the high street and, unlike eye tests, hearing tests are complimentary.
As demand and waiting times for GP and NHS ENT services continue to grow across the UK, we’re sharing the stories of people getting their hearing tested for the first time to demonstrate how life-changing it can be, especially after years of denial.
Protect your ears while you’re young
Mark Doyle, DJ and founder of global record label sensation Hedkandi, is just one of the thousands of people that Hidden Hearing help every year. Although often misperceived as an ‘old person’s problem’, Mark believes that attitudes towards hearing loss will start to change as people like him step up and speak out about the issue.
World Hearing Day top 5 tips for looking after your hearing
- Turn the volume down
- Use noise-cancelling headphones
- Replace earbuds or in-the-ear earphones with over-the-ear headphones
- Give your ears a break!
- Try our free online hearing test
According to one recent study1, individuals who use headphones in an already noisy environment (e.g. the gym, on public transport or in a busy open-plan office) are at a 4.5-fold higher risk of hearing loss; and those who use them for more than 80 minutes per day in a noisy environment have a 4.7 times higher risk.
“I don’t think enough is being done to explain how younger people could be damaging their hearing and what the consequences of that will be,” says Mark, 53, who describes his new hearing aids as ‘life-changing’.
“When I was younger and DJing, I would use my headphones for work, 4 or 5 hours in the evening, twice a week. Now, you have kids with headphones on gaming, 4 or 5 hours, 7 days a week, often listening to very loud volumes. And it’s not just an issue of volume, I’ve learned that a low-level, constant rumble of bass is also damaging.”
Ear and hearing care for all
In support of World Hearing Day’s ‘ear and hearing care for all’ theme, we’re awarding up to five pairs of state-of-the-art hearing aids to people who might not be able to afford them otherwise.
Use our free, five-minute online hearing test as a first step and if that indicates a potential problem, come and see us. Our hearing care experts will be nominating people whose hearing they test throughout March. Book your free hearing test today for your chance to be nominated.
Remember to bring a friend or loved one with you. Testing your hearing against a familiar voice will help give us a better understanding of how well you can hear.
1. EuroTrak UK 2022 research project, commissioned by the EHIMA (European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association)