Hearing Health: The Warning Signs

Posted on: 06 May 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves

Your key questions on hearing health answered by Wendy Davis, head audiologist at Siemens Hearing Instruments.

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Approximately 9 million people in the UK, one in seven, have some kind of hearing loss. However, compared to getting eyes tested and regular dentist visits, hearing health is an issue that seems to be widely neglected.

Hearing problems are particularly common in the over 50s age group, so what are the warning signs to look out for and routes to get help? We talked to Wendy Davies, Head Audiologist at Siemens Hearing Instruments, to find out more:

1) How often should I have my hearing checked?

As a general rule, you should have your hearing tested every three years, however anyone regularly exposed to hazardous noise should have an annual hearing test, or ‘audiogram’ as it is properly known.

People who notice a change in their hearing or who develop tinnitus (a ringing sound in the ears) should have their ears checked immediately.

2) Where can I go to have my hearing tested?

You can visit your GP who will refer you to an audiologist if necessary and rule out any medical conditions first. High street dispensers in your local town will also offer a hearing check service.

3) How can I tell if someone if a friend or family member is experiencing a decline in their hearing?

There are many symptoms to suggest that people can’t hear as well as they used to. These are just a few:

  • Answering questions incorrectly
  • Not hearing everyday noises such as the phone or doorbell ringing
  • Appearing to ignore people because they simply can’t hear
  • Constantly asking ‘what’ or ‘pardon’
  • Turning up the television or radio to loud volumes
  • Having difficulty in following conversations where there is background noise
  • Character changes, such as isolation and withdrawal from social interaction

4) Can ignoring a hearing problem make someone go completely deaf?

If a hearing problem is suspected, seeking professional help is important. Ignoring a problem won’t make it worse, but seeking help can certainly make things better for your daily enjoyment of life.

The negative side to ignoring a deterioration of hearing health is that social interaction can decline. If people withdraw from hobbies, seeing friends and engaging at family gatherings because they can’t join in conversations properly, it can lead to social isolation and depression.

5) If someone is diagnosed with a hearing problem, what solutions are there?

Life berry charmingToday hearing aids are much different to the ‘beige banana’ styles of 5-10 years ago. The latest Siemens hearing instruments have been designed to match skin tone or hair colour and blend in, or stand out in multi colours to match fashion outfits. All are much smaller and discrete that most people expect, giving greater confidence to enjoy everyday life.

The Life hearing instrument from Siemens Hearing Instruments is available in many colours and patterns.

For further information and advice on hearing health, visit www.siemens-hearing.co.uk. 

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