A recent survey conducted by Specsavers unveils concerning trends in hearing health awareness among Londoners. Despite nearly a quarter experiencing changes in their hearing over the past decade, 50% have taken no action. More than 60% have never had their hearing tested, leading to difficulties in various situations, with 40% struggling to hear in busy areas.
The impact extends to social life, as 12% have avoided gatherings due to hearing challenges. Notably, 37% fear losing the ability to hear music, while family and friends play a crucial role in encouraging 34% to address their hearing health.
It comes as eighties music legend Rick Astley recently discovered he had some hearing loss after a hearing test at Specsavers and now has hearing aids. To raise awareness of the common symptoms associated with hearing loss, Rick partnered with Specsavers to re-record his biggest hit, ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ with the lyrics people have misheard for years, including “Then I’m Gonna Run Around with Dessert Spoons”, “you wouldn’t catch nits from any other guy” and “your aunt’s been naked”. Rick has since spoken publicly about his hearing loss to help remove some of the stigma attached to the condition.
TV medic Dr Michael Mosley, who himself has also recently discovered he has some hearing loss, says: “While we now live in a world where lots of people feel comfortable talking openly about their health, some people still feel there is a stigma attached to certain conditions, and hearing loss is one of those.
“Hearing loss is completely normal and often a part of the ageing process, but – understandably – most of us want to feel as young as we can for as long as we can.
“But it’s important to remember that hearing loss is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about – lots of people suffer from it, regardless of their age or lifestyle.
“Starting honest conversations about mental health and menopause are examples of health areas that have led to a shift in the stigma attached to them, and hearing loss is no different. It’s a natural process that happens to a lot of people, and there’s plenty of help out there.”
People polled by Specsavers, who had already received support with their hearing, said they’d re-discovered some of their favourite sounds including nature sounds (230%), TV and radio (30%), and music (26%).
Specsavers audiologist Gurleen Brar said: “Part of the stigma around hearing loss is the fear of having to wear a hearing aid, but this shouldn’t be the case anymore. There have been so many advances in hearing aids – there is some much technology in these tiny devices. Ensuring hearing issues are identified early is key. As well as improving quality of life, early detection can also help prevent other conditions such as the early-onset of dementia.
In our poll, nearly half of Londoners (49%) said that they would be encouraged to get a hearing test if they were free. At Specsavers, hearing tests are free. It’s also a misconception that hearing loss is just sounds getting quieter. Everyone’s hearing is different. Some people lose high notes, others lose low-frequency sounds. If you are experiencing changes, do book a free hearing test, as there is lots that can be done to help and the sooner you take action, the more likely you are to minimise hearing loss.”
To find out more or to book a free hearing test, visit www.specsavers.co.uk/hearing
Expert top tips for hearing health:
Worried about hearing loss? Specsavers audiologist Gurleen Brar and TV medic Dr Michael Mosley give their advice.
Firstly, don’t panic. We know it can be frightening to experience changes in your hearing, but avoiding the issue can lead to greater problems and reduced quality of life down the line. Don’t ignore any changes in the hope they will simply go away. Hearing changes can be very subtle at first and therefore can take time to notice. The sooner you speak to an expert about it, the better. A staggering 56% of Brits say they have never had their hearing tested, which means more than half of the nation could have hearing loss that they simply haven’t noticed yet.
Do certain sounds seem louder than usual? Does the volume on the TV or radio seem to change by itself? What most people won’t know is that hearing changes don’t always begin with sounds getting quieter. If you are noticing any kind of distortion or strange sounds in your ears, it could be time to get your hearing checked.
Have you noticed a friend or loved one struggling to hear, or do they seem distracted? Gently mentioning it to them can be the catalyst someone needs to seek support or open up that they are struggling.
Do you find yourself avoiding crowded areas or social situations because you find it hard to hear what is happening? This can also be a sign that your hearing may require some attention. In research carried out by Specsavers, 49% say they frequently can’t hear conversations with background noise such as in restaurants or bars (62% of people aged over 65). This is a common early sign of hearing loss.
Worried about the stigma? Sadly, for some, the thought of hearing aids feels frightening, but times have changed! Hearing aid technology and designs are not how many would imagine. Years ago, they were often bulky and uncomfortable, but like other electronics they have dramatically changed – yet many people aren’t aware of amazing technology in these tiny devices. Modern hearing aids are small, discreet, and feature the latest tech, including Bluetooth connectivity, rechargeable options, and noise reduction technology to help reduce background noise. They also come in a range of fittings and styles.