Speak up... We Can't Hear You
One in six Australians suffers from hearing loss; this number is set to increase dramatically as the population continues to age over coming decades, rising to one in four Australians.
Pountney (2014) cites a recent survey of more than 1000 adults found:
“…those close to someone with hearing difficulties found a breakdown in communications—misunderstood conversations and arguments resulting from miscommunication caused strain within the relationship”
Janette Thorburn, an Australian Hearing audiologist says:
“Having to repeat oneself constantly, arguments from misunderstanding and having to shout during conversations, can be very draining, particularly if this kind of activity is happening for many years and increasing in severity”
Age-related hearing loss and the irreversible damage of loud noise are the most common causes of hearing difficulties in Australia. Whilst age-related hearing loss is naturally occurring, and increases slowly over time, the damage may be compounded when combined with damage caused by loud noise, which is the most common source of hearing loss in younger adults.
Loud noise can cause irreparable damage to the delicate hearing mechanisms of the human inner ear. Common sources of loud noise, which lead to damage include: • Industrial noise • Machinery noise • Loud music • Power tool operating noise • Gunfire
These noise sources can cause hearing damage in under an hour.
Pountney also states that:
“Most people only have their hearing tested after repeated requests from family and friends, rather than identifying the problem themselves.
She further highlights the lack of knowledge about hearing aid products:
“Most do not realise that the technology on hearing loss has changed dramatically…many new hearing aids function well in noisy situations and can adjust themselves to the wearer’s preferences, unlike previous models which may have whistled or required fiddly adjustments.”
The introduction of new wireless technologies has also helped hearing aid wearers with sound from commonly used sources such as TVs, laptops and mobile phones delivered directly into the ear, making it easier for people with hearing loss to understand the rest of us.
1. Pountney, M, 2014, Hard of Hearing?, Herald Sun, Monday June 9, 2014, pp. 43