A study from Action on Hearing Loss showed around an estimated 4 million young people are at high risk of hearing loss, and tinnitus due to prolonged exposure of loud music, the need for a hearing aid is most likely to increase in the next couple of decades.
With this in mind, The Hearing Care Partnership (THCP) investigates the stigma of hearing loss within UK society and how the latest hearing aid technology helps to tackle this stigma to appeal towards young people.
Figures also reveal there were ten million people in the UK suffering with the hearing loss in 2011 and that figure is likely to be larger now, given that by 2031 this is expected to rise to 14.5 million Brits.
The idea of wearing hearing aids can seem extremely unappealing and is often associated with signs of old age. Often stigma is caused by a lack of understanding of the challenges faced by those with hearing loss, whether from family, friends, co-workers or the general public, this can lead to delay in treatment. Those who have regular interactions with people who lack understanding feel more stigmatized, thus are not as likely to seek regular tests.
However, far from filling people with fear, there is a positive side in that there is help available and research being carried out to try and make the issue easier to deal with. Educating the general public, as well as those with hearing loss, on the challenges may turn the tide of negative thinking and facilitate empathy.
One of the important things that those with hearing loss often find it comforting to know is that they are far from being alone when it comes to the condition. Meeting likeminded people of a similar age can really help the road to recovery such as visiting local hearing support groups and clubs
The plethora of hearing aids available for those with hearing loss has grown massively over recent years to the point that most wearers of hearing aids would testify that digital devices are preferable to their more outdated counterparts, with the main difference coming in the way they transmit and amplify sound.
Melanie Gregory, Group Head of Audiology at The Hearing Care Partnership commented,
“With studies showing young people can be at risk of early onset hearing loss, it’s important to tackle the negative perceptions that are preventing them getting their hearing checked.
“The idea that hearing loss only happens during old age is a myth. While hearing loss is much less common when we're younger, our hearing can become less sensitive to high frequency sounds from as early as our twenties, if we're exposed to excessive noise like loud headphones or nightclubs. This can particularly affect the ability to hear in background noise or group situations.
"No matter what age, if you are experiencing hearing loss, the earlier you are fitted with hearing aids the better. Hearing aids provide regular stimulation of the auditory cortex, helping to prevent or reverse auditory deprivation. Now that there is an increase of digital hearing aids options available, such as Invisible In Canal hearing aids, having to wear a chunky visible hearing aid is no longer the only option.
“Like visiting the dentist, or having regular eye examinations, it is important to have your hearing and ear health monitored to detect any changes. No matter what age, it is never too early to have your first hearing check.”
"With studies showing young people can be at risk of early onset hearing loss, its important to tackle the negative perceptions that are preventing them getting their hearing checked."
Melanie Gregory, Group Head of Audiology at THCP