hearing awareness week




Monday 21st March 2011: 57% of hearing loss sufferers said the volume of the television was one of the initial indicators of their hearing loss, while more than half (52%) said they pretended to hear what people were saying. These are some of the key findings from Ireland’s first comprehensive hearing loss survey conducted by Hidden Hearing, Ireland’s largest provider of hearing aids, for Hearing Awareness Week. The research also revealed that advice from family and friends was one of the key factors influencing those to seek treatment for their hearing loss with half of respondents (49%) saying that encouragement from family and friends influenced them to seek treatment.

Hearing Awareness Week is a national awareness campaign highlighting the issue of hearing loss, run by Hidden Hearing in association with the Irish Deaf Society. The research conducted with people affected by hearing loss and their families also revealed that four in ten (40%) said the fact that they had difficulty hearing the TV and radio was the key influence in them seeking treatment. Half of those surveyed (51%) said that their hearing loss made them less comfortable in groups and one in five (20%) said they avoided talking on the phone.

The research, which explored the psychological impact of hearing loss, revealed that 37% of respondents said they felt frustrated when they realized they had a problem with their hearing, one in three (33%) of respondents said that they felt embarrassed, one in five (19%) said they felt old and one in five (19%) said they felt isolated. However over one quarter of respondents waited more than five years to seek treatment, often prompted by loved ones, who believed the sufferers were in denial.

The Hearing Awareness Week campaign is focusing on family and friends as an important influence to encourage people to take action about their hearing loss and the campaign is making it easier for people to take action around their hearing loss. A mobile hearing test clinic is visiting some of Ireland’s cities and towns to provide free hearing tests and Hidden Hearing is also offering free hearing tests in its 63 clinics nationwide. A website www.hearingawarenessweek.ie has been set up to provide information and advice on hearing loss, as well as facilitating an online hearing test.

Legendary singer Daniel O’ Donnell and television health presenter Dr Nina Byrnes helped to launch Hearing Awareness Week in Dublin today. Daniel O’ Donnell played a key role in encouraging his mother to seek treatment for her hearing loss and speaking at the launch he said: “My mother suffered from quite a severe hearing impairment, so conversation became increasingly difficult for her and it also put quite a strain on the rest of the family.  But we encouraged her to seek treatment and now she lives a much improved lifestyle. There’s no need for people to miss out on life and I’d encourage all families and friends to talk to their loved ones about their hearing loss during Hearing Awareness Week.”

Discussing Hearing Awareness Week, Dr Nina Byrnes, Medical Consultant, Hidden Hearing said: “Hearing loss is one of the unspoken debilitating conditions, affecting people’s wellbeing in Ireland today. Hearing Awareness Week will encourage sufferers to take positive action to help themselves. Our research with hearing loss sufferers and their families reveals the negative impact that hearing loss can have psychologically and socially. But it also reveals that with treatment they can regain their confidence and improve their social interaction and relationships. Our message today is that hearing loss doesn’t have to hold you back in life, talk to your GP or take a free hearing test during Hearing Awareness Week”.

The research was conducted with 750 respondents from December to February this year at Hidden Hearing branches in conjunction with Behaviour & Attitudes.

Research conducted with hearing loss sufferers revealed that:

·         70% leave it more than a year to seek treatment for their hearing loss, with 28% leaving it more than five years to seek treatment.

·         44% said that their hearing loss made it difficult to socialize in public places, with one in four (26%) saying that their hearing loss was affecting their home life.

·         65% said that the first sign of their hearing loss was asking people to repeat themselves, 57% said turning up the TV / radio volume.

·         51% said that their hearing loss made them less comfortable in groups.

·         52% said that they pretended to hear what people were saying.

Research conducted with family and friends revealed that:

·         One in four (26%) said that their relative / friend was in denial about their hearing loss and that they had to convince them that they need to do something about it.

·         59% said that the volume of the TV was a continuous issue.

·         Half of respondents (48%) said that conversations with their family member / friend became frustrating, with 31% saying that they had to ‘act as their ears, always filling in the blanks for them’.

·         Four in ten (41%) said that their relative / friend wasn’t taking part in conversations like they used to, 28% said they were less interested in socializing.

·         One in four (23%) said that their relative / friend is more confident now after getting treatment. One in four (25%) said “our relationship has really improved, we can have a normal conversation now”.

Hearing Awareness Week is highlighting three easy ways to get a hearing test as part of Hearing Awareness Week.

1.      The Hidden Hearing Mobile Clinic Roadshow will visit:

Location Date Time
Belfast Cityside RetailPark Monday, 21st March 9.30am to 4.30pm
Dublin Northside Shopping Centre Tuesday, 22nd March 9.30am to 4.30pm
Dublin Liffey Valley Shopping Centre Wednesday, 23rd March 9.30am to 4.30pm
Dublin Liffey Valley Shopping Centre Thursday, 24th March 9.30am to 4.30pm
Cork Mahon Point Shopping Centre Friday, 25th March 9.30am to 4.30pm
Limerick Parkway Shopping Centre Saturday, 26th March 9.30am to 4.30pm
Galway Galway Shopping Centre Sunday, 27th March 9.30am to 4.30pm

2.      Online hearing test is available at www.hearingawarenessweek.ie .

3.      Check www.hiddenhearing.ie for your nearest clinic which is providing free hearing tests for Hearing Awareness Week.

Speaking today, Stephen Leddy, Managing Director, Hidden Hearing said: “This is the fifth year we have held Hearing Awareness Week and we believe it makes a real difference to people’s lives. Our research reveals the positive impact for those who received treatment for their hearing loss, the improvements in social interaction and in the relationships with family and friends. And this is something that we in Hidden Hearing also witness every day in our clinics around the country. Our overall message from Hearing Awareness Week 2011 is to talk to your family and friends about hearing loss, talk to your GP or avail of a free hearing test. Hearing loss doesn’t have to have a negative impact on your social life, your family life or your career. Address the issue and it doesn’t have to control your life.”




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