(Ga-day.. This is a very interesting and informative read 🙂
One in six Australians has a hearing impairment and the figure is likely to increase as the country’s population ages.
One of the main consequences of hearing loss is a reduced capacity to communicate. The ability to listen and respond to speaking is reduced. This impacts on a person’s life chances to gain competitive skills and employment and to participate in community life and personal relationships.
Hearing Awareness Week from Sunday 21 August 2016 will highlight the issues faced by people with hearing loss.
It will see a range of activities by volunteer organisations and businesses throughout the country, including ‘silent’ sports events, public exhibitions on hearing technologies, and hearing safety training by employers to alert people to the issues.
“There is a large number of people, mostly men, who don’t want to admit to having a hearing problem,” said David Brady, Chair of Deafness Forum of Australia.
Hearing loss is a paradox. It is so prevalent in the community, and yet has a generally low level of awareness and understanding.
Much needs to be done to address the level of un-managed hearing loss in the community.
“There are many people in aged care facilities who haven’t been diagnosed. There are many others who don’t wear their hearing aids regularly, don’t have them cleaned properly,” Mr Brady said.
Keeping your hearing healthy is largely about knowing how much loud sound you’re exposed to. A ‘noise diet’ can protect your hearing from future problems.
Loud noise can cause irreversible hearing damage, as it harms the delicate hearing mechanism in the inner ear.
“Damage to hearing due to noise exposure is cumulative. The louder the sound, the less time you can safely listen to it. Just because a sound isn’t annoying doesn’t make it safe,” said David Brady.
Many daily activities won’t harm your hearing, but some activities can start to cause damage after only a short time.
“Noisy occupations used to be the most common cause of hearing problems, but nowadays it’s also recreational loud noise, especially from personal music players and noisy clubs and concerts. That’s why hearing loss is increasingly affecting younger people,” David Brady said.
If you’re concerned that you may be losing your hearing, tackling the problem early can improve both your hearing and your quality of life, including your relationships. People who are fitted with hearing aids early are likely to get more benefit from them than those who put up with hearing loss for years before seeking help. It can take up to 15 years for people who clearly have hearing loss to get tested. A key reason for those long years in denial is the stigma of hearing loss.
What are the signs of hearing loss?
Loss of hearing is often a gradual process. Hearing loss is invisible and more common than people think. Some of the early warning signs of hearing loss are: you can hear but not understand; you find it hard to hear in noisy situations or groups of people; you think people mumble; you need turn the TV up louder than others or, you don’t always hear the doorbell or the phone.
How can I manage noise in my workplace?
Examine quieter alternative work practices. The ultimate outcome is to help create a safer, low noise, working environment.
What is excessive noise?
Noise is considered excessive when you must use a raised voice or shout in order to be able to speak to someone at an arm’s length. It is important to note that a hearing impairment does not protect a person from further noise damage nor does it give a person less susceptibility to noise induced hearing damage. In fact, it is quite critical to protect what hearing remains.
Will a hearing aid restore my hearing back to normal?
Hearing devices benefit many people. The benefits depend on the degree of your hearing loss.
Will I become dependent on a hearing aid?
Do not be concerned about becoming dependent. A hearing device will help you communicate better and enjoy life more. Many people wonder how they ever managed without it.
Steve Williamson, Deafness Forum of Australia
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