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Many Australians avoid awkward conversations about hearing loss

MML
Article image for Many Australians avoid awkward conversations about hearing loss

Australians could be leaving loved ones at risk of social isolation by avoiding uncomfortable conversations around hearing loss, new research shows.

The Specsavers Audiology research revealed older Australians (aged 40 and over) know at least two people they think suffer from hearing loss but almost half have never suggested a hearing test.

In most cases they are worried it would hurt their feelings.

Specsavers Chief Audiologist Nick Taylor said everyone should encourage their family or friends to seek help if there’s an issue with their hearing.

“Our survey found that over half of us (54 per cent) have noticed a loved one who is hard of hearing withdraw from a conversation because they find it too difficult to join in,” he said.

“This withdrawal behaviour may be heightened at key family gathering times in noisy environments such as restaurants, bars or at a full family dinner table.

“It’s something we should always look out for, especially with Christmas and end of year celebrations coming up.”

A total of 37% per cent of people surveyed were unaware of the common signs of hearing loss, including:

  • Asking people to repeat themselves – this may be common at a loud Christmas lunch
  • Turning to the source of the sound and leaning over you to be closer to the person speaking
  • Turning up the volume on the TV

It’s important look out for these signs, particularly in those aged 50 and over, to keep friends and family socially connected and engaged.

If you know someone who you think may be hard of hearing or you are worried about your own hearing loss, book a free 15-minute hearing test with a local Audiology Professional at Specsavers by visiting www.specsavers.com.au/hearing.

Specsavers has 340 stores in Australia of which 147 offer Audiology.

The survey of 1013 Australians aged 40 or over was conducted by YouGov in October 2019 and commissioned by Specsavers Audiology.

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