New research from the RNID has shown that only 6% of UK individuals, who have not been diagnosed with hearing loss, took a hearing check in the last 12 months.
This is in stark contrast to people having other health checks including a dental check-up (53%), an eye test (46%), or having their blood pressure checked (44%). Despite this lack of action, a staggering 98% of individuals said that their hearing was important to them.
Having a hearing check appears to be the ‘poor relation’ when it comes to looking after your health and many are living years with undiagnosed hearing problems. Without the correct support or checks, undiagnosed hearing loss can lead to complications.
Hearing loss can be slow to spot, and if left unmanaged people can gradually become more isolated from their family and friends and experience loneliness and depression. It can also increase the risk of dementia by up to five times, but there is growing evidence to suggest that getting support and treatment early may reduce these risks.
If you, your partner or your parents have noticed signs of hearing loss, they should get a hearing check. RNID asked individuals which symptoms would most likely encourage them to take one:
- 47% said if they had to ask people to repeat what they said,
- 42% said if they were told they turn the volume up too loud on the TV,
- 40% said if they were having difficulty following a conversation in a noisy place like a restaurant or party,
- 36% said if they often found people were mumbling or not speaking clearly,
- 16% said if they were turning down invitations to social gatherings in noisy environments,
RNID has seen from previous research that more than 34% of people who are not diagnosed with a hearing loss admit they’ve pretended to follow conversations they’ve struggled to hear, and the same amount (34%) have found it difficult to follow conversations in noisy surroundings like restaurants or parties.
The charity also found 24% have found themselves asking people to repeat themselves and 13% say they have been told by their partner they think they might have a problem with their hearing.
Crystal Rolfe, Associate Director for Health at RNID, said:
“Everyone should be valuing and protecting their hearing as much as they value and protect their teeth, eyes or blood pressure, and this can all start with a simple hearing check. If over the festive season or whilst attending a New Year’s Eve party, you found yourself, or saw your partner or parents asking people to repeat themselves or struggling to follow a conversation, please take the first step and check your hearing.
“We found that 73% of people said they would consider making a health-related resolution in the new year which they could fulfil in three minutes. This January, as well as promising to sign up to a gym, read a book a month or give up chocolate, pledge to take the RNID hearing check and tick off your first New Year’s resolution straight away.”