Hearing loss is common with aging, affecting nearly one-third of adults over 65 and half over 75. Dolores Madden from Hidden Hearing, explains that hearing loss has two parts. One is an inability to hear sounds at lower volumes, the second is a loss of clarity — hearing but not understanding. Loss of clarity is often the first symptom of hearing loss in adults. “The first complaints we get are difficulty with background noise,” Madden says — making out a conversation in a crowded restaurant, or when music or a loud fan is on. You may hear someone calling from another room but not understand the words, or you may have trouble conversing while sitting side-by-side in front of a television, when you can’t see your companion’s lips and expressions.
Hearing tests are recommended based on symptoms, not age. The important sign of hearing loss is a change from what you could distinguish or understand before. Madden says it’s worth getting thoroughly tested to identify a hearing loss even if you don’t think you need a hearing aid. In some instances a test can identify a treatable medical condition such as fluid buildup in the ears. In cases of mild hearing loss, an audiologist can discuss strategies to make communication easier. Madden says a hearing aid becomes more necessary when normal conversations are difficult to hear, which puts people at risk of social isolation.
Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit www.hiddenhearing.ie.