As the festive season approaches and the prospect of reuniting with family members becomes a real possibility, audiologists are concerned that some Kiwis will miss out on conversations around the dinner table because they simply struggle to hear and haven’t addressed their hearing issues.
This comes after research1 commissioned by Specsavers Audiology revealed that despite eight in ten (83%) of Kiwis 40 years and older admitting to having concerns about their own hearing, only 41% have seen a medical professional as a result, while a whopping 59% have not sought any advice or treatment.
More than half (65%) of the people surveyed who said they had a hearing problem didn’t think the problem bad enough to seek help, while 14% thought the problem would just go away and 9% didn’t want to accept that they may have hearing loss. Another 8% of Kiwis surveyed over the age of 40 said they have not sought medical advice as they do not want to get hearing aids.
Specsavers Senior Audiologist Kathryn Launchbury says: “For those living with hearing loss, social isolation can be very prevalent, and COVID-19 hasn’t helped with this. We don’t want people to avoid interaction with others because they are struggling to hear conversations that they should be a part of. Without intervention, those living with hearing loss will continue to miss valuable moments and everyday sounds that are otherwise taken for granted!
“That’s why Audiology professionals across the country are encouraging Kiwis to get their hearing checked so they aren’t missing out on conversations. This is especially important for the festive season, one that is meant to be of celebration, happiness, and reconnection,” she says.
The research also revealed some common reasons New Zealanders find it hard to tell someone they think they are hard of hearing is because it might hurt their feelings (23%) or they will get angry with them for mentioning it (18%).
“On average, it takes people 7-10 years to act on hearing loss once it’s identified as a problem. We understand it can be a difficult conversation to tell someone you think they might be hard of hearing, but nobody wants to miss out on the best conversations of life,” says Kathryn.
Signs that could indicate hearing loss are things like asking for the TV or music to be turned up, asking for people to repeat themselves, lip reading, leaning over the table to hear someone and refraining from engaging in conversations, especially in a busy or noisy environment.
If restrictions allow, many Kiwis will want to spend time in person with family and friends over the festive season to celebrate. Making it all the more important to ensure all family members’ hearing is up to scratch.
Specsavers Audiology professionals are encouraging New Zealanders to have their hearing checked ahead of the festive season.
“By offering audiology to our customers, we’re hoping to normalise hearing checks and assist hearing loss earlier, before it affects a person’s life. People just shouldn’t be delaying when it comes to hearing challenges, especially if it means they can’t live their lives to the fullest.”
For people who think they may be hard of hearing or who are worried about hearing loss, it’s as simple as booking a free* 15-minute hearing check with a local audiology professional at Specsavers.
1. Research by YouGov, commissioned by Specsavers, 2019
*Free 15-minute appointment: If further testing is required in a longer appointment, a fee may be incurred.