Hearing loss affects one in six people in Ireland, however many of those affected leave it years before seeking treatment.
This week is Hearing Awareness Week and the theme of this year’s campaign is ‘Breaking Down Barriers’. The event is run by Hidden Hearing in association with the Irish Deaf Society.
According to Dr Nina Byrnes, medical advisor with Hidden Hearing, despite the fact that hearing loss is a major issue, ‘those who initially notice a problem will leave it up to 10 years before they take action’.
“The aim of Hearing Awareness Week is to prioritise hearing loss as a major health issue and highlight the crucial importance of diagnosing hearing loss at an early stage,” she commented.
Previous research has shown that almost three in four people wait at least one year before seeking treatment, while at least one in four wait more than five years.
The research also revealed that many people feel embarrassed and isolated when they realise they have a problem with their hearing.
As part of this year’s awareness week, a mobile clinic will be travelling the country offering free hearing screening tests. Free hearing tests will also be available from Hidden Hearing branches nationwide.
The Irish Deaf Society will also be holding a series of deaf awareness training events for schools.
“The ultimate goal of deaf awareness training is to increase understanding of the challenges faced by deaf people and an understanding of deaf culture in order to reduce the communication barriers between deaf and hearing people,” explained Kevin Mulqueen, chairperson of the Irish Deaf Society.
For more details about events taking place to mark Hearing Awareness Week, click here